He is risen! Happy Easter Friends

The baskets are stuffed, the Easter outfits laid out on the dining room floor, and the lily’s perfume fills the living room where I am sitting.  Quiet.


Quiet is pure gift in a clergy person’s home during Holy Week, especially where there are young children.


This year? Xavier fell asleep heavy in my arms during the Maundy Thursday service and Andrew and I passed him back and forth from shoulder to shoulder.  I preached, he celebrated.  He washed my feet.  I washed his.  We both washed the feet of Madeline and Caedmon.  Warm water splashed while her cowboy boots and his soccer shoes lay empty in a pile next to us, their eyes mesmerized on mom and dad’s hands cupping the water, caressing their feet. Xavier didn’t wake up until we arrived home.


Good Friday we follow the cross in the dark doing Stations of the Cross and readers have book lights and the Station’s modern art sketches are lit by candles.  This year Xavier got through two stations before he started doing jerky-looking calisthenics and we took a walk.  Progress.  Maybe next year we will get through number 3.


Nana and Grandpa Steve have added to the richness, flying in from far away and walking this Holy Week with us, sending the children into a constant sugar-high joy.  These children play and joke like they know they are loved.  We all sponge painted eggs and the children lost interest after coloring a few and ran to the sink to wash sticky fingers.  It was the adults who lingered at the table happy to do something creative and simple.


And I just can’t get over the gifts, the small graces that make up this life and His large gift that makes it all possible.  Because without His dying and taking on my death, I would never be able to drink from this heaven on earth.  I would have wriggled free of this Eden and bent, struggled into hell.  I know this because I almost threw it all away years ago before His wounds started healing me.


I’m thankful the pervasive evil (when did we get so fascinated with television about vampires, zombies, serial killers?) will never have the last word, that He already WAS the last word and that it is spreading forward and back, saturating and healing the earth.


So very thankful for these gifts and friends, honestly, I’m so very thankful for you as well and the family that is building here at a thirst for God, where we catch glimpses of “His hand at work in the world about us.”


Happy Easter to you my friends.


If you have time, check out this contemporary song based on St. John Chrysostom’s Easter hymn: here.


Maybe you, like my little Xavier, will lift your hand straight up toward the sky as you listen to this Matt Maher song and know, He is risen and miraculously, the Risen One is among us.


He is risen.  He is risen indeed.


Summer Gross

Pictures were from two years ago, an oh so warmer year.  

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