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Friday, April 25, 2014

Celebrate! Celebrate!

"...plus an Easter egg hunt sandwiched in between services..."

by Ken Holloway, Verger at St. Richard's Episcopal Church, Round Rock, TX [email protected]

On our most joyous Christian day, with glorious organ accompanying robust voices, we sing, "Jesus Christ is risen today. Hallelujah." Then our parish family goes home to a relaxing lunch as we vergers finish our after-Sunday-service tasks. Ever notice how silent the nave is at that moment? You've all heard it, haven't you? The crescendo of our Easter celebration suddenly becomes an echo, retreating into the past.

After Palm Sunday's Gospel Passion Reading, a Seder on Wednesday night, Maundy Thursday's observance of Jesus' death, Good Friday's Stations of the Cross, Holy Saturday's Great Vigil, and after two or three Eucharistic celebrations of Jesus' resurrection on Easter Sunday morning plus a children's Easter egg hunt sandwiched in between services, most of us pause, exhausted, trying to fully absorb Holy Week's emotional peaks and valleys.

I was thinking about what we vergers could do to best transition from our heaviest liturgical week to services of the First Sunday of Easter. Would it help to physically or spiritually nurture (take care of) ourselves? Perhaps we could look ahead, planning for the next major feast on the calendar. Maybe we could take a few minutes to write our "Lessons Learned" report for the liturgy team. Baffled, I (wisely) sought counsel from my beautiful wife.

She said, "What about just going out and spreading the good news of Jesus' having risen from the dead? Don't make it so complicated, Mr. Engineering-mind!"

Can the absence of Easter's celebratory sound cause us to be more fully aware of, and more active in, a new beginning of our life in Christ?

More than other spiritual forces, maybe the peaceful, uplifting silence of the "after-Easter" can be what finally moves us to extend our hands and hugs and share our exuberance in Christ's promise to mankind with our families, our neighbors, our old friends, each other, and even someone we will meet for the first time tomorrow.

Please share your stories about about your own verger ministry and experiences with [email protected].

After the special liturgies of Holy Week and and Easter Sunday, we vergers can enjoy an uplifting silence that renews our life in Christ just by talking to the people in our life about Jesus' resurrection and his promise of eternal life.

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