We celebrated Easter this Sunday in a liturgical setting. The kids and I didn't make it to the early service (with the flowering of the cross), but the later service was just as beautiful and symbolic. We walked in to the sanctuary and the altar was transformed. During Lent, there had been no flowers and the cross on the altar and the ones used in procession were covered. Easter Sunday, the altar was bedecked with beautiful flowers and the crosses were unveiled. Symbolically, the death and resurrection were displayed on the altar, in the colors, and in the liturgy of Lent and Easter.
During the service, as the acolytes processed, the first cross was adorned with a crown of thorns interwoven with roses. The second cross bore Easter lilies. The crown of thorns had been used during the Maundy Thursday service, during which the priest scrubbed the altar clean and placed the crown, all alone, on the altar. It stayed there through Good Friday and Saturday, until Easter. The symbolism of all this is so powerful--death in the crown of thorns, hope in the blood-colored roses, and joy in the Easter lilies.
We sang celebrative songs, and the sermon reminded us that, while the resurrection certainly exemplifies God's power, more importantly it exemplifies God's love--love is what caused Jesus to rise from the dead.
There's nothing more incredible than celebrating the Eucharist on Easter Sunday--what joy it represents! Since for me the past several months (since September 2006) have been an awakening, the celebration of the season of rebirth and new life has been especially meaningful.
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