Easter was lovely, exhausting, rejuvenating, heartbreaking, and full of wonder. In Godly Play, when we get to the end of the story we tell during Lent and unroll the final section of the deep purple underlay it turns white. "Look" the storyteller says, "everything has changed."
I was reminded of this phrase early this morning, around 6:30am, when we turned on the lights and said the first Alleluia of Easter and reveled in the flowers, gold vestments, and deep joy of this the highest feast of our tradition. We do it every year, the 5am Great Vigil of Easter. And somehow, like the Godly Play story, every year it new. Look, I think to myself, everything has changed.
Last year as we sang the Great Alleluia I stood next to Mo. Melissa dressed in gold vestments myself and holding the book for her. I did a fine job in that role, but the entire three hours I only had eyes for the babe in the back of the room, being walked back and forth by Andrew. Yes, everything had changed.
This year A+J skipped the vigil. I served in a different role, this one only requiring a simple alb. When the lights flew on and the familiar inexplicable tears filled my eyes I found myself full of both wonder and wondering. Everything has changed - my daughter is a toddler, I am just weeks away from leaving my job at St. Paul's and heading to an internship at another parish, Andrew is weeks away from finishing school. Children who were wide-eyed three year olds when I began teaching Godly Play are savvy six or seven year olds now, and the savvy six year olds are world weary nine year olds who nonetheless ran screaming and joyful around the church at our sleepover last night playing hide and go seek.
I suppose this year it is a little less Everything has Changed and more that everything is changing. Some days the feeling of that change tugs me down a little, makes my eyes water, hurts in ways that are difficult to describe. But there is always Easter, there is always the pure celebration waiting on the other side of the loss that change can bring. And today of all days I feel eager to embrace that hopeful, bright and murky Mystery.