Easter came like a whirlwind this year. We barely had time to breathe in the celebration of Christ’s birth when we were launched into Lenten prayer and almsgiving, which culminated into sorrowful meditations on Christ’s suffering and dying; and finally the grand alleluias at his rising. As I look back on it all, I also liken it to another element that we have been experiencing this season — that being one of the worst winters in years. Spring will definitely be met with grand alleluias.
Today in the Gospel we read what the first disciples experienced on Easter morning, a sense of awe and a whole lot of uneasiness. They had dined with Jesus at the Last Supper where he revealed the living memorial of his body and blood; then they plunged into the gut-wrenching frenzy of Jesus’ bloody and haunting death on the cross. Finally they kept vigil to watch and wait with the body in preparation to anoint and bury their beloved. Imagine their surprise when he was nowhere to be found, their bewilderment and fright.
We have an advantage, 2,000 years later, in understanding and celebrating this great event of our Christian life. We were not there and cannot experience it firsthand, so therefore we have to affirm our belief through the eyes of faith. Throughout what seems like a whirlwind of Holy Week (especially for all those in the ministries of preparing for it), our faith is brought to life for us at the Easter Vigil when we breathe in that intoxicating incense, when we listen in wonder to the readings of the Old Testament history, when we hear the glorious ringing of bells as we return to the singing of the Gloria and when we are delighted as we again sing those wonderful alleluias.
Lastly, we feel the cool, wet waters of baptism as we are sprinkled with that life-giving water. At my parish our priest uses a very large, brush-like aspergil that he calls the “broom,” so when your glasses are dripping to the point of poor vision you know you have been sufficiently graced with those waters. The symbolism that leads to our eyes of faith is not lost!
But the most important testament to our faith is when we declare it boldly at the profession of faith. So, sing those alleluias, drink in the euphoric scent of those beautiful and fresh, spring floral arrangements; and, most importantly, feel that burning desire that the living Eucharist wells up inside of us and burst forth in exclaiming to all — I am saved! I am saved! Thank you, Jesus, I am saved!
Wettstein is director of music and liturgy at Good Shepherd Parish, Chilton.