Maybe you didn’t grow up Catholic (or Anglican or Lutheran), so you are not familiar with the Easter Vigil. It’s a long service, beginning at sundown. The church is dark and the priest lights a fire outside and then lights the Paschal candle. There is a procession to the front of the church and congregation members light small candles until the church is ablaze with brightness. The priest stops three times during this procession and sings:
“Christ our light.”
The congregation responds,
“Thanks be to God.”
After the liturgy, there might be a baptism or a confirmation and then the entire congregation renews their baptismal vows. The whole ceremony is very powerful if taken seriously, especially the renewal of your baptismal vows.
In spite of these “unprecedented times,” this past week was lovely. I accomplished a week long “news fast” with no Facebook, no Instagram, and no Dr. John Cambell talking about these “unprecedented times.” We had a freak snowstorm on Thursday evening and I hiked into it with the hunter man.
I got some beautiful e-mails from the philosopher “At Your Service” and a letter from my brother, reminding me that uncertainty crushes hope.
Good Friday started off on a shaky foot, with no power and no internet, but all was well with the world by 11:00 a.m.
Yesterday was gorgeous and as I took my daily air in one of my secret places, I noticed some small birds in the budding maple trees along the edge of the large field. No binoculars, but I stopped and looked closely and identified them as bluebirds. I have never seen a bluebird before, but according to the internet, they are universally associated with happiness. One internet guru says “the visiting of a bluebird is a good sign, and you should act upon it immediately.”
And so I did. I built a snowman in the field and was so inspired I drove to Baumer’s Field and made another one in the spot I sometimes see turkeys (who are the spirit of abundance, ‘sez the netz!).
It was invigorating, to be sure.
Last night was still Holy Saturday and the Catholic Diocese of Maine encouraged Catholics and others to light candles at 7:30 p.m. and offer silent prayer and reflection in lieu of an Easter Vigil.
I dressed up like I might if I were going to church, styled my hair, and lit a white candle. I stood at the end of my driveway and made the sign of the cross. I recited the Lord’s Prayer and then renewed my baptismal vows. It’s a powerful thing, beginning with the rejection of Satan, all his works, and all his empty promises.
When I woke up this morning, I decided to also reject uncertainty and the ‘Crona virus. I opened every window in my house and blasted The London Philharmonic’s “Hymns Triumphant.” I looked outside and my white candle was still burning brightly at the end of my driveway.
May your day be filled with bluebirds, light, fresh air and the type of true hope that overcomes any uncertainty. Go, drink coffee, bake ham, and live your life!
Christ is risen, indeed!