I slept in a bit this morning. When I awoke, Kevin, almost 12, was already up and dressed for church in his new clothes we bought yesterday! We went to the 9:45 service at Christ Methodist Church in Kevin’s subdivison. Though filling rapidly, our normal seats near the front on the right side were still available.
The organ began the service with an rousing rendition of “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” (arr. Raney), but there was NO organist sitting on the bench! I am very curious. . . I didn’t know a pipe organ could record and replay through the pipes as if it were a synthesizer, but that had to be what happened. If someone can explain, please do!
The organist, sitting at the piano, began the second verse with a difficult, duo piano part showing his extreme dexterity on the keyboard. A phenomenal piece of music! A riveting performance! My eyes filled with emotional, appreciative tears. Following the morning Welcome, the congregation sang four verses of the that great hymn by the Wesley brothers just played by the instruments, and “Crown Him with Many Crowns” with the Bell Choir accompanying.
Since we had no flower for the cross, the couple next to us offered us a long stemmed lily to place on a wooded cross at the front wrapped in fine chicken wire. During the congregational singing, worshipers with flowers came forward to tuck them into the chicken wire creating a beautiful floral bouquet. Kevin deposited our flower. This is a lovely tradition I have experienced in various forms in North and South Carolina churches.
Following a prayer and brief liturgy, the choir sang the Hallelujah Chorus. All who have sung it with a choir were invited to come forward to join the choir. So I did! Great fun! The lady next to me said I should join the choir.
The scripture lessons preceded the eloquent and encouraging sermon. Kevin listened intently. I had told him I have a Kindle version of “Easter Story” from “The Action Bible” on my phone. But he preferred to listen. The pastor reiterated the Easter story of Jesus repeatedly telling his disciples of the coming events–He would suffer, die, and be resurrected, yet they could not comprehend this. The pastor enacted how Peter may have behaved at The Last Supper. Perhaps he was not paying attention to Christ’s words, so, theoretically, Christ asked, “Peter, did you hear me?” To which Peter supposedly absent-mindedly replied, “Yes.” So when Jesus disappeared from the tomb, Jesus’ followers had a tough time believing until they encountered the risen Christ in person. His sermon, down-to-earth and lively, held an almost 12 year old’s attention. He reassured our belief in the miracle of so long ago which we can experience as fact within our own hearts.
Communion was served today, particularly poignant on Easter. However, the nice lady, serving the bread at our station, tore off pieces which were much too large for a dunk in the grape juice and to pop in the mouth. Amusing how funny things can happen at a solemn time.
The service closed with a Postlude of Wido’s “Toccata.” I wanted to sit down and enjoy the entire piece as the audience does at Chautauqua Institution for Postludes. So I danced as I exited to release my exhilaration.
I pray your Easter services, remembering Christ’s great love to bring us redemption, brought gratitude to your heart.