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Hallo again to all.

Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! Christus resurrexit! Христос воскрес! Alleluia.

The Lord is risen indeed! And it's a safe bet that almost all of you were in church today to celebrate. Our parish church today had the largest attendance we've seen in 7 years. We prayed, we sang, we wept for joy. We sang The day of resurrection to Ellacombe with a trumpet descant.

Easter liturgy is full of symbols of resurrection, each with its own explanation. Through the years we've listened to sermons that talk about those symbols ('how an Easter egg symbolizes Jesus’ resurrection'). We've read paragraphs in church bulletins that talk about those symbols ('how Easter flowers remind us of the Resurrection').

PeepsWe've participated in Easter events that include eggs, decorated egg-shaped containers, flowers, candy, pretzels, rabbits, butterflies, candles, bonfires, shivering in the dark waiting for the sun to rise, pictures of lambs, actual lambs, pelicans, hot cross buns, wearing new clothes, and parades. For each of those we've heard or read at least two different explanations of its use as an Easter symbol. We've seen congregations confuse the Resurrection with the Passion and include in Easter celebration such objects as palm fronds, a crown of thorns, and heavy wood crosses.

Whew. So many symbols. In our parish this morning we had a gifted trumpeter accompanying much of the singing. As far as we are concerned, a tight trumpet descant behind a full and energetic choir is itself a powerful symbol of the Resurrection.

After a 20-year drought, our parish once again has enough children to muster a children's choir, especially with help from students at the adjacent church school whose families are not involved with the church itself. We had a 15-person children's choir (not one of them older than 7 or 8) and a 5-person children's handbell choir to help us celebrate this morning. Two of them, full of smiles and an occasional audible note, couldn't have been older than 4.

In the Noted This Week section of today's Anglicans Online, the Worth Noting section includes a link to an article in The Telegraph entitled 'Village churches need their own resurrection'. It uses an expansive definition of 'resurrection' to include restoring life to dying parishes. The author observes

Maybe you do not attend a service at all, but would still count yourself as a Christian, and like the idea of having a church in the village, with all that its presence implies for your community. It may have been built by a wealthy benefactor or by public subscription.

Easter pretzelsSome parishes need resurrection. Listening with honest joy to the children's choir ringing handbells and singing Music Down in My Soul as arranged by Moses Hogan,* we turned around at least once to see if perhaps a resurrected Jesus was standing behind us clapping along. Jesus felt nearby. And then we had a flash, a vision. These children are the best symbols of resurrection. They aren't just new life for their families, they are new life for the parish and for the larger church. Oh yes, a parish echoing with the sounds and smiles of singing children is a resurrected parish.

AO's late managing editor Cynthia McFarland had a sign on the wall in her home that said 'Practice Resurrection†'. In our celebration of Easter 2014, we saw resurrection being practiced in so many places.

Alleluia, alleluia.

See you next week. Alleluia.

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All of us at Anglicans Online

20 April 2014

*You can find performances by adults, such as this one, over on YouTube.
†See Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front by Wendell Berry.


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