This will be my seventh Easter serving as Trinity’s Pastor. The first was the earliest - a very chilly March 27th (view footnote below). I’ve recently seen some of you posting memories from Facebook - especially from the Easter egg hunt! It was my introduction to Trinity’s well-loved traditions, including the Easter egg hunt and a big church brunch after full-to-the brim worship. It was my introduction to the song “Every Morning is Easter Morning,” AKA “Easter People” - another Trinity tradition, at least since sometime in the 70s, when it was written. Four “traditional” Easter Sundays, two in pandemic with 100% virtual worship, and now our first Easter as a hybrid church.
On Easter Sunday two years ago, after our first virtual Easter service, the floodgates of heaven opened, and I walked in Monday to see water pouring through fallen ceiling tiles, and a mess everywhere. Of course, it couldn’t have happened at a better time. When our building couldn’t be used because of COVID, we were able to repair, restore, and rebuild as needed, and in the process uncovered the beautiful brick wall just outside of my office - original to the church house.
Having that brick uncovered led to the formation of a task force to dive into the history of this building and land, and reckon with the history of enslaved peoples, as well as the first peoples to use this land, before colonizers arrived. Postponed from March, this month we will have a special worship service led by the Season of Repentance Task Force. You don’t want to miss it! It will be our Palm Sunday worship service - very appropriately held in the tension between Empire and God’s liberation in Jesus Christ.
Following the reconstruction, we now have an old wall and new floors. The same old bones, but better, more energy-efficient lighting. We’ve adapted through major water damage, just as we’ve continued to adapt through a global pandemic.
In this season that celebrates resurrection and new life, we recognize that new life is never the same as what once was. Rest assured - we will sing “Easter People” again, but we aren’t back to the way things used to be, pre-COVID. We will be a community gathered in person - and online - celebrating new life in Jesus Christ, even as we continue to live into the new life to which God calls us, as the Easter People we are.
We will celebrate Holy Week - though this year without palms, and without our traditional foot washing service on Maundy Thursday. And we will celebrate Easter - though with lemonade and refreshments on the lawn, in lieu of a big potluck brunch. We’ll have an Easter egg hunt - but that will be the week after Easter. After all, it’s still the Easter season!
The good news is, whatever we sing, however we worship, and whatever traditions come back, remain, or get started, Jesus will still be risen. Christ will still be glorified. We will still proclaim the miracle of resurrection, and the promise of new life.
Grace and Peace,
Footnote: That morning, JoAnne Riedesel’s baptism was made complete in her death. We celebrated the promise of resurrection and her freedom from the suffering of this world. We remember JoAnne’s life with gratitude, and celebrate the resurrection of all of our beloved members who have joined the church triumphant.