April 18, 2022

“Early in the morning of the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.” ~ John 20:1 CEB

I wondered what Easter would be like for me today. Holidays are hard for those who are grieving. There were no Peeps in a basket this year, no plans to be with family, and PCR COVID tests immediately following worship in preparation for a trip to celebrate Rod’s retirement in June 2020. We’re slow! We’ve postponed this Rhine River Cruise twice since June 2020 and the PCR test is one of the last hurdles to making it a reality this time. I’m hoping the third time is a charm and not a strike out.

Getting a PCR test wasn’t the highlight of Easter. The highlight was putting on my robe and stole prior to worship, and remembering that my Easter stole, colorful butterflies on a white background was an ordination gift from my sisters. The only time I’ve worn it other than Easter was for a wedding I officiated at in Hana, Maui. The bride and groom were from Italy, and during the pre-service meeting, they informed me that they had carried a box of butterflies on dry ice from their home in Milan, to be opened just as the wedding service began. The hope was that they would revive from the cold and fly away about 20 minutes later, towards the end of the ceremony. I wore my sisters’ given butterfly stole for the wedding to go with the theme. I was nervous the whole time, silently praying that the critters had survived the flight and would fly at the just right time. Fly, they did, just as I was pronouncing the couple. It was joyous, and something I shared with Carol and Jane later in a phone call.

When I put on the stole this morning, that memory came flooding back. As I sat at the front during the prelude, I touched the butterflies on the stole in gratitude for the gift from so long ago that gifted me on Easter morning with a tangible reminder of my sisters. We opened worship with Christ the Lord is Risen Today, by Charles Wesley. The final verse in our hymnal includes these words, “Born like him, like him we die, alleluia. Ours the cross, the grave, and skies, alleluia.” It’s a hymn I want sung at my funeral, a testimony to the fullness of life.

A bit of the weight of grief rolled away as I sang along with the congregation this morning.

Alleluia! ~ Anne

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