Christ is risen!

happy, happy easter to everyone! what a wonderful day!

i want to fill you in on our holy week and easter celebrations! i feel very privileged to live in camden during this week. resurrection is such a real phenomenon in our neighborhood - so much is dying and so much is rising.

on wednesday we had our seder meal which is, as far as i can tell, pretty traditional. we have the wine and the green vegetable and the bitter herbs and the matzoh and the lamb. (which means lamb curry later that week for us!) as a continuation of that meal we have our maundy thursday mass (my favorite) which commemerates the last supper of jesus and his disciples - we have our hands washed in perfumed water and participate in the adoration of the eucharist. on friday, the most somber of the week, we have our stations of the cross. (pictured below) at each station, while we remember jesus' last hours, we also remember someone who has been killed in our neighborhood. later that day we have our good friday mass - it's very quiet and contemplative as we read the passion story and kiss the feet of jesus.

the culmination of it all, of course, is the easter morning vigil at 4:30 am. it's hard to wake up so ridiculously early but there is no doubt that it's worth it. we hear the creation story read and as adam and eve are banished from the garden we are sent out into the cold, down into the "tomb" (basement) where we hear the exodus story and the resurrection story read. once we declare that christ has risen we process through the neighborhood as the sun rises, ringing bells, swinging incense and singing alleluia. the music is jubilent and we are swept up in the joy of the resurrection.

there is, of course, so much nuance and beauty in the details of these events but for the sake of the length of this post, you just get the gist.

after all that we have our annual easter morning breakfast with all of the foods we have given up for lent. ice cream, candy, cake (and other more healthy and typical breakfast foods!)

so, now, we are exhausted and hyped up on sugar... here are some photos:

these ladies are doing their own version of "christmas caroling" on easter - bringing friends forsythia. so nice.


the rite of reconciliation

for me, holy week began friday night with the rite of reconciliation. now, i grew up with the idea that confession, certainly planned confession with a priest, was silly, useless, even wrong, but this simple, profound practice in our church has come to mean a great deal to me. i love that father michael tells us that the most important, the most difficult job, of a priest is to communicate, not judgement or even absolution, but how much God loves us and the depth of God's forgiveness. confession in all it's forms, to God, to friends, to ourselves, to our pastor or priest, seems like a good idea to me.

i wanted to share a reflection someone read at the service.

Forgive us for not knowing or not wanting to know.
Forgive me Jesus for not fully knowing your humanity. I saw that like a brother, you wept in the arms of Mary and Martha. Forgive me for not knowing you needed companionship, needed love.

Forgive me for not seeing the fullness of humanity in the prostitute that walks the streets of Broadway, or the men who hover around the liquor store or in front of our church and hopes for a dollar for this next drink or the lonely woman who needs another kind word or the people lying on park benches.

Forgive me for not seeing they hurt, this is their crucifixion. Forgive me for avoiding eye contact with them, for parking in a different place or walking on the other side of the street.

Give me courage Mother/Father god for face to face reconciliation—forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.
Give our beloved community, Divine One courage to forgive.

Courage to forgive the little things: How has disappointment, a slight, a thoughtlessness, an angry word nestled into your heart and hardening your heart to tenderness and joy of the God Presence in the Other?
Give us courage Mother/Father god for face to face reconciliation—forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.

and more deeply...

What wounds do I carry that I have not forgiven?

I have been told a lie. I believed a lie. I believed that god is a man. –our father.
I have been told that I am created in the image and likeness of God. But god is a man. I could not have been totally created in the image and likeness of god.

And I am reminded daily that I have a different value as a women. We cannot bless the Eucharist because we are different, we cannot fully participate in the sacraments because we are different, we cannot be a part of leadership in our church because we are different.
There is something inherently wrong with me. I have this cloud of guilt and shame that I am not good enough

I cry out to you Mother/Father Divine give me the courage to awaken from these lies of self-negation. And forgive, for only in forgiving can I rise above the guilt and shame to speak truth to power.

I have been told lies about my body. It is not thin enough, it is not pretty enough, it is not young enough, it is too seductive, it is too masculine. As women, we are measured by the amount of children we have, by the amount of children we do not have, we are the ones that have the abortions, and we are the ones who "bring rape on ourselves".

I cry out to you Mother/Father Divine me the courage to awaken from these lies, give me a deepening appreciation of the Feminine Divine, the power to create, the powerful gift of giving. So that I may have burning zeal care for your creation.