It's Easter, the day when we remember that Christ was resurrected from death to life. This Easter has been hard, because we've lost someone very dear to our hearts. And amidst all the celebrations and traditions, we've had the true meaning of this holy day etched into our hearts and minds: death does not have the final say.
On Thursday night, I visited the Little Brothers and Sisters of the Lamb (the hitchhiking monks I took to lunch once, who are now my friends) and kept vigil with them from 10:30pm-3am, recounting the events of Jesus' last night in the Garden of Gethsemani, up until his arrest. In my heart, I was also keeping vigil with family far away, as our loved one's life was slipping away. I just knew I had to be in a place of prayer, and it deeply settled my soul. Some photos from that beautiful evening, along with a candlelit procession around a bonfire at 2:30 in the morning.
The rest of Holy Week was less somber. We did our traditional Passover seder, and this year our neighbors joined us, last-minute. The kids helped to set everything up. It's our favorite tradition.
A rose, red for Christ's blood, with thorns for his crown.
This was a special treat this year, because on Monday I had attended a traditional Jewish Passover seder. Ours was a much smaller version, but the experience rekindled the wonderful memories from Monday night.
In our family seder, we recount the days of Holy Week, from Palm Sunday to Christ's Resurrection.
We keep some traditional elements from the Hebrew seder, but then switch up others. It's thick with meaning and the kids look forward to the seder all year long. (They talk about it all the time.)
We make Resurrection Rolls (croissants with a marshmallow and spices that disappear when baked, like Jesus' body from the empty tomb).
Then we open the festivities with palm fronds waving.
Everyone takes turns leading each day, reading Bible verses and sharing its rich symbolism - we tear a napkin to show the temple veil rent in two, and wash one another's hands to recall Pontius Pilate.
Love this tradition so much, especially when shared with friends! (They all said they're coming back next year.) :)
For church, we split our time between two. I went to Resurrection Downtown at the gorgeous Kauffman Center, and heard a deeply meaningful message from Pastor Adam about death and loss that was so timely, given the loss of our dear friend yesterday.
Gotta love that on-screen plug for my class, Live and Let Think!
And the kids wanted to watch Mark play the keys in the band, so we went as a family to Life.Church. Good thing it's practically next door, because a spring broke on our garage door, so the kids and I had to walk to church.
My hubby's so talented. See him there on keys? (As he was putting away his keyboard after the service, I caught a glimpse of another band mate bowing to him in honor - ha!) It was such a great message, too, about how we need the trial for the testimony, the struggle for the story worth telling.
Next came the traditions the kids were begging for - hunting Easter eggs and following a trail of string to their Easter buckets, chock-full of swimsuits and beach towels and other goodies.
Here they go!
And this year, the kids set up a special Easter egg hunt for Mom & Dad. They stuffed the eggs and even created a prize egg with a "hang out" certificate. Mark won, so he gets to "hang out" with the kids in lawn chairs, chillin' in the front yard.
Happy Resurrection Day! He is risen, indeed!