...continuing a guest post by the Western Rite Sister in the South (as opposed to the Eastern Rite Priest’s Wife in the West)
After a mere five hours of sleep (this is the standard amount of sleep for every parent in the U.S. preceding Christmas and Easter mornings), hubby and I both arose to light candles and welcome the most important morning of the year, commemorating the most important day of history! Dad brewed the morning joe while I searched the computer on youtube for some good time Alleluia tunes. Keith Green’s Easter Song filled the kitchen, “Joy to the World, He is risen! Alleluia!” Sipping cream-infused java and praising the Risen Lord woke our sleepy heads upstairs. What a beautiful family morning! Chocolate, marshmallows, jelly beans and patience with younger siblings abounded.
I searched for the Alleluia Chorus on youtube, the perfect Easter song to sing. On the computer screen, there appeared a random group of people chowing down in a food court in a mall somewhere. Suddenly, the strains of Handel could be heard over the loudspeaker. People noticed in mid-munch and then resumed eating. A young woman seemingly on a cell phone stood up at her table and sang the first stanzas of “Alleluia, Alleluia”. She was joined by a scarf-clad tenor across the court….it was clearly a set up. A beautiful random act of kindness kinda thing put on by a marvelous choir posing as shoppers, workers and store owners. It is what is known as a “flashmob.” One by one, even the innocuous bystanders joined in, and so did we. It was truly inspiring. Our family was filled with Easter joy as we changed into Sunday best, which had been flung wrinkled on the floor from the night before, and filed into our mega van.
As we entered the church, the perfume of lilies greeted our noses. AAH….the sensuality of Catholicism is like no other! The pews were filling in with much welcomed guests….OK folks, you’ll wanna come back after this nuptial feast! The organ began to bellow….here it comes, kids; belt ‘er out! And then…. That was it. Most choir members were out of town. The minor chord Alleuia intoned by a single cantor. Standard homily (and this pastor was also hitting the hay early, he’d had a long week too). An off-key One Bread, One Body for Communion. They must have run out of incense and holy water as well, as none were to be found. We ended with a barely audible Jesus Christ is Ris’n Today. “This is like a funeral Mass,” commented my usually effervescent husband.
We drove home past several churches, expelling crowds of beautifully adorned congregants beaming with joy….some roofs seemed to be bumped off their soffits from the choruses inside. I started to miss my old Protestant days. But no—we have the contrast of Lent, and an entire season of Easter….. We kept our disappointment to ourselves, as chocolate bunnies and computer games seemed to satiate the souls of our young. As long as they could get back to our Saturday Family Movie Night with Don Knotts, our kids knew that Lent was over. But, how to help them remember that Easter had begun? It can’t just be 'back to business,' we are a changed people!
We would just have to fend for ourselves. It is kind of like filling your own plastic eggs if Mom and Dad are just too tired to do it. Maybe a few pastors don’t realize that they act like lazy parents who buy the prepackaged Walmart basket, never realizing that their parish family needs 'optional' traditions that elevate the Resurrection. Lent cleans me out, and Easter fills me up!