I've shopped for Bunny items, filled the baskets,g sampled the candies and now I guess we are ready for Easter Sunday. Since I'm leaving the next day for South America, Easter is one of those things that I'm putting sort of on the back burner for this year.
One thing I have to do today is spend my usual 3 hours in church for Holy Saturday Mass tonight, This has been a tradition for me for practically 30 years. I have been a part of a choir that did Holy Saturday Mass services practically every year since the early 80's. It is one of the most dramatic and interesting, even though very long, Catholic Mass Liturgies in the entire year. It is the highest feast of the Church year, a time when all things are renewed to celebrate and commemorate Jesus' rising from the death to a new life.
The night starts out in darkness, and a fire is built in the church which starts the ceremony of lhe church year. Sometimes I worry about being stuck in the far corner of the church far away from the door when they start the fire, hoping it doesn't somehow flare up and set the place on fire. I guess that is one benefit of having a church with an asbestos ceiiing, it can withstand flames!
Then we read and sing in response to the stories that lead up to Christ's coming, His ministry and finally death on the cross. Then we throw the swithch to sing, "Glory to God In the Highest", once again coming out of the darkness of the Lenten season to the joy of the Easter season.
Then a long but meaningful process begins of admitting new members into the church. Even though people can be baptized at any time of the year, many chose be baptitized on Holy Saturday, especially the adults. They prepare for many months prior to the day of their baptisms. We have the blessing of the new water before the baptisms.
One year, almost 20 years ago, I was working with the group who prepared the logistics for this special evening. Since fire, light and water were such strong symbols in this liturgy, our fire and water symbols were weak. So the team designed a beautiful holder for a nice firepit (sorry Chinese restaurant, we stole one of you woks for our firepot), and we built an actual garden type pond in the sanctuary. I was on the pond committee, having jusrt finished a pond in my own backyard. We used a concrete mixing box as our pond liner, My hubby built a wooden support for a nice flat waterfall rock, and we finished it off with stones around the edge, and lots of plants and flowers. At the prescribed time in the liturgy, someone turned the switch and the water flowed over the waterfall, making a nice trickling sound as emphasis on the symbol.
So many people commented on this, they loved it Some just thought it was a nice decoration, and didn't put the symbol idea in their minds. I moved away after a few years, and actually got to build one of these at my new parish, which they used for exactly one year. When Ed was sick, I was off the choir/church committees for a year. Imagine my delight when I returned to the parish I am now in, and they had literally resurrected the old pond from the early 90's and rebuilt it in the new church sanctuary. I saw it and instantly got teared up! It was a symbol from the past that was so meaningful to me. And now, I guess we're going to be using it for the future!
So that is another reason to want to go to church tonight. Plus, I'm part of the singing and solo group that will be providing the music.
So Happy Easter to you all. Celebrate in what ever way you want, but remember to look past the bunnies and Easter Egg Hunts, and remember, Jesus died to save us all, and His Death and Resurrection are the keys to our salvation in the next life.