Last year during Holy Week I was on the other side of the globe, fulfilling a dream of celebrating Easter in Russia. This year, my Holy Week was spent mostly at home, under the weather, quiet. Uneventful. Contemplative.
A study in contrasts, to be sure.
In Russia, I colored eggs the traditional way using onion skins for the dye. Then I made kulichi, a special decorated sweet bread, used to give to friends and relatives along with the words of congratulation: Kristos Voskrese! (Christ is Risen). At midnight, I went to the service at the Orthodox Church — where the priest did a crazy thing by tossing Easter eggs into the crowd. (I’ll never forget the look of shock on one old granny’s face when the egg hit her in the forehead.) All these celebratory activities included my dear friends there, who made sure my Russian Easter would be unforgettable. And it was!
Memories like these are blessings. They serve as reminders that our lives are rich, fascinating, and meaningful. Especially on days when it seems otherwise. And otherwise isn’t always so bad.
Sometimes quiet and contemplative forces us to focus less on traditions and more on the incredible, world-changing event that occurred in Jerusalem in the first century AD. I’ve been reading scripture during the 40 days leading up to Resurrection Day–scripture that chronicles the time Jesus spent with HIS friends prior to being put to death on a cross. He ate with them, talked with them, washed their feet, wept. He knew their lives were about to change forever, and His time to prepare them was limited. So, there was fellowship, traditions, maybe even a few moments of laughter–but also some serious contemplation going on.
As a Christ-follower, I want to be like Jesus. Through my reading, I came to understand that both of my Easter experiences are “authentic” and representative of the ever-changing, ongoing process of “becoming” the person in God’s image I was created to be. So tomorrow I’ll be at church with my husband and some wonderful friends, and together we will celebrate the risen Christ.We’ll have a meal together, laugh, and watch the kids hunt eggs on the church lawn.
I might even convince our pastor to toss a few of those eggs into the crowd!