Saturday, April 10, 2004

Easter Vigil 2004 

I'll write about the Easter Vigil below, but first...

Our sump pump gave up the ghost today, we were lucky to discover it before it overflowed and damaged our basement. So I spent the day kneeling and bailing and and doing plumbing to replace the old sump pump. My dad was kind enough to come over and help me glue the PVC together. Now, all is well, but it was a long day. I talked to Dad about the Masters. It's Arnold Palmer's final Masters. My Dad used to watch Arnold all the time. If I was to pick two famous figures my dad identified with it would be Mickey Mantle and Arnold Palmer. I saw my dad cry when his mother died and they played her favorite hymn (How Great Thou Art) in the church. Today I saw him cry again, trying to describe to me Arnold's final approach up the 18th green after 50 Master's tournaments. The fans gave him a huge ovation and Arnold was crying, covering his face with his hat. I think my dad saw Arnold's youth in himself and now he is realizing Arnold's age in himself, too. How it's all been so wonderful, how it's so soon gone. Shoot, he got me cryin', too.

OK, after a long, long day, the Easter Vigil began at 8pm. It was 9 readings, 9 hymns, 9 prayers followed by 4 baptisms, acceptance of 8 new members and then a mass. Three hours, and then a reception afterward.

Really, it was beautiful. We began outside at a bonfire. The priest blessed the fire, made cuts into the candle with a small knife (what's that all about?) and then lit a large candle from the flames. Then we all went inside and lit individual candles. The church was dark but for all the candles. The readings were:

1. The days of creation from Genesis
2. Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son (as God did on Good Friday)
3. Moses splitting the red sea (compare going through the water to baptism)
4. Isaiah 54:5-14
5. Isaiah 55:1-11
6. Baruch 3:9, 32:4
7. Ezechiel 36:16-28
8. Romans 6:3-11
- incense was then put all about the church
9. Luke 24:1-12

The baptisms were wonderful. A young boy, a teenage boy, a late-teens woman and an older woman. They walked into the font one at a time and knelt, the Priest poured three pitchers of water on them for the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Smiles and tears all around. Then they all got dressed in white while the Priest threw water from a pine branch all over everyone to remember our own baptisms (we had a minister in our methodist church do that once... quite effective!).

The new members were presented by their sponsors and given the chrism (oil) on their foreheads. Then we had mass. (I crossed my arms and received a blessing).

I stepped into the reception long enough to see the cakes and punch and smiles. When I was leaving, the bell was ringing, loud, cool and clear. Christ is risen.

Christ is risen indeed.

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