This isn't my first Triduum and Easter season not to be serving a church. It is my first go-round working in a secular environment and not feeling connected to any local community of faith. It's been an odd time of feeling simultaneously deprived and liberated.
We talked of attending an Easter Vigil at the local Lutheran church last night, but never rallied around the idea. I suspect we won't rally around the pancake breakfast and morning service at that same establishment this morning. I'm okay with that. I have missed the powerful liturgies and moving music of Holy Week, but I have also learned that it is still difficult and painful not to be an intricate part of them. It seems the kinder thing for my tender soul to go without.
Adrift during the last year to consider and reflect on my relationships with Jesus, and with the Church, I've turned over some interesting and provocative thoughts about the identity and role of each in my life. It's been a useful inner dialogue as I continue to search for my niche in life and the world. I've been free from espousing conforming doctrines and giving the proverbial nod to parishioners who want to cling to less-than-liberating notions of what it means to believe and have faith. I am willing to meet people where they are, and believe firmly in the pastoral obligation to do so, but it is staggering how stagnant the belief systems of so many are who fill our pews and count themselves among the faithful. As my own faith has evolved over the years the distance between congregational contentment and my own willingness to seek and risk has pushed me into the outlying environs of the land of no return. Or so it seems at the moment.
So it is that I find myself at ease with celebrating Easter this weekend creating on the home front: assisting Ken with the ongoing effort to erect the fence for the dogs (what progress, in recent weeks!), sewing Templar capes for our investiture next weekend, and continuing to draw lessons on life from my father's recent death. All of these things stir the energy of my being and draw me toward new life in one way or another: freedom for the dogs and for us; discovery through new relationships joined by common values; and valuing the fullness of a life whose brokenness cast more of a shadow on mine than its wholeness did.
The power of God's grace and redemption is richly distributed through these experiences of my holy week, and I find myself better equipped, in a way, to discover the depth of Easter's power by living its realities in my daily and ordinary life. To borrow from and alter Charles Dickens' oft-quoted line, "I will honor Easter in my heart and try to keep it all the year." That, to me, is the essence of knowing the risen Christ.