11:59PM Saturday night:
Easter Vigil in the lean-to chapel with Keith, one of the Easter Workshop attendees (and an Anglican Vicar) leading the liturgy.
10 or so of us gathered in the chilled darkness, lit by candle light and almost huddling around the woodstove near the altar. The icons lining the walls bore witness to the quiet. Keith served as cantor, singing the ancient words and melody which begin the service. Then we shared God’s story: Genesis 1, Genesis 3, Exodus, Isaiah…extended readings from each to re-set the stage of our minds and hearts for the events about to take place beginning at midnight. Each reading was shared from a children’s bible. This served as a poignant contrast and somehow, resonates with the deeply old liturgy being played out under the gaze of ancient saints.
12:01 Sunday morning:
12:00 occurred during a natural pause in the service. We all proclaimed with loud voices, “Christ is Risen! Allelujah!” Followed by sincere smiles and truly joyous laughter at the wonder of it all.
So, my resurrection Sunday began at 12:01 AM…
…but it continued 9 hours later as a handful of us walked The Pilgrim’s Way to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. In lieu of a traditional worship service, some of us participants in the Easter Workshop took off our shoes and walked three miles across a North Sea mud flat at low tide. This is the path Christian worshipers have walked for 1400 years (not just Easter Sundays, but every day of the week) to visit the monks and teachers on the Holy Island.
We walked the first 30 minutes in silence, and then once again, Keith led us in song as we walked: Lindisfarne by Iona. (a super 90’s Celtic groove!)
Once on the island, we connected with other Friends and Companions of the Northumbria Community who had arrived by car. The Community tradition for Easter is to gather around the statue of St. Aidan and sing/dance “Christ is Light”. You can witness the blend of poignancy, authenticity, absurdity, reverence and whimsy right here, if you have the constitution for it. Some fat guy wearing my clothes shows up at 0:05 seconds in. The author’s adorable wife appears at about 1:00. You can hear mostly wind, and some singing up until about 7:00. Skip ahead to 16:30 to watch our heartfelt attempt at dancing (to be fair we only learned the steps 5 earlier!) Skip again to 30:30 after we moved locations and circled once again for the vows ceremony where I had the honor of formally welcoming my friend Joyce into the Community.
Later, a potluck ensued back at Nether Springs, followed by a “Caedmon” Evening, where people bring songs, poems, dances art…silly or profound and all share in the celebration.
All in all…a pretty good Easter Sunday. We miss our family and dear ones at home. But it was so good to be here too.
He is Risen!