Sunday, April 12, 2009
As per request, here are pictures of the sanctuary taken last night and this morning, dressed for Easter. Last night we began Easter celebrations with the Easter Vigil. That's when two were baptized and confirmed into Christ, one renewed her confirmation into Christ, and two others were confirmed into Christ. It was a night and morning filled with hymns, readings, psalms, incense, oil, water, bread, wine, and CHRIST in all of these things!
The youngest children used cut flowers to adorn the cross. This is the first place I've ever been where this custom has been maintained. My first Good Friday here I participated in the liturgical rite: The pastor holding high the unadorned former Christmas-tree-now-made-cross and intoning, "Behold the life-giving cross on which was hung the salvation of the world;" the congregation then chanting in reply, "O come let us worship Him." That was an excitement in and of itself. Yet upon returning the next evening for the Easter Vigil, a greater one awaited. The bare cross pastor had carried to the four corners of the sanctuary was now shrouded in white bandaging. For all the world that cross imaged Christ in His burial garment to me. It was striking.
To maintain that imagery this year, pastor has decided to leave the altar adorned only with the fair linen throughout the Easter season. The altar is a work of art in and of itself. The superfrontal, which is no less a beautiful piece of art of a different kind, lays over a portion of the altar, as if it were a mask for the beauty underneath (A great lesson there!). But for the Easter season another lesson is being told to us.
Jesus burst forth from the tomb, leaving His burial clothes behind on death's bed where He slept for three days. The simplicity of the fair linen on the granite of the altar recalls this. The altar is the place where Christ is present for us in the bread and wine; Christ literally sits enthroned upon this altar. So to leave a bare slab of rock with only a strip of linen across it is not a far stretch to thinking, "This is where My Lord's Body and Blood lie for me; this is the place where the Church is born form Christ."
By the way, the cover is removed from the Baptismal font prior to each Mass. The font has water for those who wish to dip their fingers and make the sign of the cross.
So, more views--as Easter progresses. We left before the flowered cross was taken to the roadside fence for passersby to see as they drove by. My newest godson needed to get home. He'd already had a long day. I think he'd have gone on for more. He was acolyte today. Had a lot to do, lighting candles, holding books. I asked him if he felt any different today. He said he did. He said he slept better last night than any night he ever did before. Baptism's like that. And he's been waiting a long time for it.