Year after year our church shows signs of vitality. This can be seen both in how we care for each other and how we care for those suffering in the broader world. This past year I recall hearing a member say, “Our members do a better job of caring for each other than any church I have been in.” At the same time, we intentionally involve ourselves in the world beyond our walls through our service, advocacy, and action. A few months ago the director of a non-profit organization told me that he frequently cites our church in conversations with office staff because of our example of social engagement. One of the fruits of our vitality is that we continue to attract and gain new members with twelve joining in 2013 and seven joining already this year.
This Sunday we will be celebrating Easter at our 10 am worship service. The service will feature a processional of an Easter cross covered with flowers, special trumpet music, and choral anthems. During the service, we will also learn about an ancient practice from medieval Europe known in Latin as risus paschalis. In English, this means “Easter laughter.” (This is no joke! It was actually an ancient practice in churches. It’s also one that we might want to continue!)
This Easter season I invite you to undertake a spiritual practice that will add meaning to your life. More specifically, I invite you to think of ways you can bring the Spirit of Love into your life through heartfelt acts of caring regard and generous giving. If it should help generate your own thoughts and practices, I will share with you my own plan of action. For this Easter season, my spiritual practice will be to bring to life the Spirit of Love that my grandmother once modeled for me. Together with Danalyn, I will be making “Bunnies with Jelly Bean Shoes” for us to deliver as gifts. These scrumptious sweets are essentially sugar cookies made with a bunny shaped cutout and—as the name suggests—jelly beans for shoes. My grandmother made them every Easter, and now I want to pass along this tradition of caring regard and generous giving to my daughter as we use the same cookie cutter that my own mother has used in the past.
Almost every week either Eunita or I will exchange ten or more children’s books at the library for a new batch. Our selections are made quickly, occasionally without a discerning eye. At times, this leads to the selection of a real dud, but at other times, it leads to the discovery of a true treasure. Such was the case with Aaron Becker’s Journey.