It’s Easter today!
I’ve always had a special place in my heart for this day each year for many reasons — the most basic being the chocolate + fluffy little bunnies everywhere, and the deepest being Christ and His resurrection.
Today on the way to an Easter service, my husband, our good friend Linsey (who we affectionately started referring to as “Linter” about 4 months ago when we saw a street that shared the same name as her last name and it was wintery outside…as I’m writing this out, I’m realizing that it’s one of those ‘had to be there’ moments, so I’m going to stop now) and I started talking about all our Easter traditions and memories we held as children.
Nick’s was easy. His mom would bake giant almond-topped cinnamon rolls and wake everyone up by blasting Keith Green’s Easter Song. HEAR THE BELLS RINGING, THEY’RE SINGING, THAT YOU CAN BE BORN AGAIN! If you grew up in households similar to ours, you know the song I’m talking about.
Linter’s memories were really sweet, mostly consisting of colorful Easter egg hunts at her grandparents house. She and her brother would go to a service for younger, hip folks, while her parents went to a different one that really resonated with them. Afterwards, they would gather for a meal.
Mine was a combination of both — really good food, and a really good sermon at my home church. We’d take communion — it always felt a little more special than it did on other Sundays. When I was really young, I remember getting a new Easter dress each year. Once I had one that had a tutu-like skirt and a bow twice the size of my head. See proof below.
Easters have changed throughout the years, especially in my adult years. They’ve become less predictable. Sometimes we’re with family. Sometimes we’re at a church service. Last year we were surrounded by some of my dearest friends from college in Palm Springs. Regardless of the location, the people and the reason we’re gathering seem to be the only thing that matters.
The service today was in a giant auditorium in downtown Los Angeles. Never have I seen a ceiling so ornate, holding the largest chandelier I’ve ever seen in my life. I contemplated multiple times how horrible it would be if it fell. (I tend to go to the most morbid places like that, sometimes to watch my friends roll their eyes at me, but sometimes because I’m legitimately concerned about whatever I’m being morbid about.) Thankfully, it didn’t.
Towards the end of today’s service, two pools were opened for people to be baptized in. A huge screen came up with words to the songs the band was playing, and in the background, you could see a close-up of everyone being dipped down into the water and brought back up. I always remember my mom crying when she would watch people get baptized as I was growing up. I didn’t get it then, but in the last few years, it’s become impossible for me to not begin to borderline weep when I see someone commit their life to Christ through baptism. It’s SUCH an important, joyous moment for them. Their life story could be absolutely insane…and then in a few seconds, it’s all gone. They understand that they are no longer controlled by death and are living freely.
So I’m sitting there, crying, of course. I’m thinking about all these things, and I see my friend Clayton’s girlfriend up on the mega screen. Clayton and I were close in college. He had a faith, but I didn’t know the full extent of it — if it was something he’d grown up with or something he’d practiced on his own. Since graduating, I had run into him a few times at church, which was always awesome, but hadn’t truly been able to catch up with him to hear about how he was doing. My heart was so happy to see his girlfriend up on the stage.
Things were winding down and we were singing one of the last songs. I’d finally pulled myself together, and then looked up to see Clayton climbing into the pool. Nick turned to me and said, “Clayton!” A puddle I became once more, as I watched my friend from hundreds of feet above (we had horrible seats up in the nosebleeds of this place) commit his life to Christ in this way. I was overwhelmed by God’s faithfulness to him and reminded of the faithfulness he continues to undeservingly show me. Clayton came up out of the water with such a victorious smile, which is fitting, because it was a victorious moment.
May you all enjoy the last few hours of weekending. For now I must be going.
Talk soon, friends.