Without a doubt, this is my favorite church service. I look forward to it all year long (although, there have been plenty of years where there was no service available for me to attend). Don’t get me wrong, I love Easter morning and Christmas Eve services, and all the other festival Sundays, but the Vigil will always be my favorite. The return of the Light, the Scripture readings, remembering our Baptism, the Lord’s Supper…going from the tomb to the resurrection. So ancient and beautiful, with all of the chanting, and the sprinkling of Baptismal water, the Sacrament, and especially that moment where we can finally say again “He is risen indeed. Alleluia.” And the return of the joyful chords of Jesus Christ is Risen Today, which chokes me up every Easter, after the long wait of Lent.
There’s just nothing else like it.
What is happening? Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still, because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages. God has died in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled. Truly he goes to seek out our first parent like a lost sheep; he wishes to visit those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. He goes to free the prisoner Adam and his fellow-prisoner Eve from their pains, he who is God, and Adam’s son. The Lord goes in to them holding his victorious weapon, his cross. When Adam, the first created man, sees him, he strikes his breast in terror and calls out to all: “My Lord be with you all.” And Christ in reply says to Adam: “And with your spirit.” And grasping his hand he raises him up, saying, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.” “I am your God, who for your sake became your son, who for you and your descendants now speak and command with authority those in prison: Come forth, and those in darkness: Have light, and those who sleep: Rise.” “I command you: Awake, sleeper, I have not made you to be held a prisoner in the underworld. Arise from the dead; I am the life of the dead. Arise, O man, work of my hands, arise, you who were fashioned in my image. Rise, let us go hence; for you in me and I in you, together we are one undivided person.” (quoted in For All the Saints, vol. III, p. 1037)
To me, this is the most beautiful part of the Good Friday Chief Service–the Reproaches. The fact that, even with all the wrong we do, even though it was because of us that He was nailed to the cross, Christ still calls us His people, continually blows me away.
Thus says the Lord: What have I done to you, O My people, and wherein have I offended you? Answer Me. For I have raised you up out of the prison house of sin and death, and you have delivered up your Redeemer to be scourged. For I have redeemed you from the house of bondage, and you have nailed your Savior to the cross. O My people.
Thus says the Lord: What have I done to you, O My people, and wherein have I offended you? Answer Me. For I have conquered all your foes, and you have given Me over and delivered Me to those who persecute Me. For I have fed you with My Word and refreshed you with living water, and you have given Me gall and vinegar to drink. O My people.
Thus say the Lord: What have I done to you, O My people, and wherein have I offended you? Answer Me. What more could have been done for My vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad? My people, is this how you thank your God? O My people. Lutheran Service Book
We got to have a mini Sonlight “Box Day” this week. It was, in a lot of ways, even more fun than our first “real” box day last summer, because Turkey and Bunny knew what the box was, knew there would be lots of books in it, and followed me (along with Moose and Ladybug, who were just plain curious), like a parade to the schoolroom.
It’s a decent amount of books, even though all I ordered was the next levels of Language Arts and Readers, which we’ll begin using in a few weeks. Nothing like a full box day, with all the subjects, but Turkey and Bunny entertained themselves for quite a while looking through the books, picking out which ones they’ve read before (some of the Dr. Seuss), guessing what others were about, and wondering if they would *really* be able to read some of them on their own before too long. It was kind of a nice break to the regular routine of school.
I had a moment of panic, however, as I looked through the teacher’s guide. We started our homeschooling journey, what, seven, eight months ago? And I had forgotten in just that short amount of time how daunting a task it is to hold that new teacher’s guide in my hands and realize that my children’s education is falling solely on my shoulders.
I remembered (rather quickly) having that same feeling as I looked at our first core purchase–I didn’t know how I’d be able to do it! Would they really be able to read the whole Fun Tales set by the time the year was over? (The answer is a resounding yes!) Would I be able to teach the things they need to know? Would I find a way to schedule my days to make the most of all of our time?
But as we settled into a routine, and I saw how eager they were to learn, most of those questions and concerns vanished. So here I am, back to square one, wondering how I’m going to be able to teach them to read longer words, to use proper grammar, to write on their own. I’m guessing that these concerns will also fade as we get started (I hope!).
I wonder if I will feel this way every year, as I see the difficulty levels of their materials increasing?
I have found that coming up with Holy Week activities to add to our regular school schedule is surprisingly difficult. I thought for sure it would be a breeze–Christmas was so easy, I had to save some ideas for next year, because we simply did not have time for everything, and we took over two weeks to focus just on Christmas! I was only looking for supplementary activities for Lent and Easter.
Of course, part of the reason that the Christmas planning was so easy is because, to the world anyway, Christmas is just so much more popular. Even if you filter through all the Santa stuff, there are plenty of nativity, Christmas tree, Christmas carol, star, ornament, etc. activities for Christmas time. But it seems that 95% of the stuff available for Easter is all eggs and Easter Bunny, and since, like Santa, we don’t “do” that stuff, that’s 95% of activities that are unavailable to me for use.
The other “problem,” if you will, is a personal conviction. While I love the preparation and solemnity of the Advent season, I don’t mind jumping ahead to Christmas for activities. So, I didn’t save all my Christmas stuff until Christmas Day, and the 12 Days of Christmas–we did Christmas stuff all through Advent, all while talking about the coming of Jesus, and lighting our Advent wreath. But I won’t do that with Easter. Lent, and especially Holy Week, is such a sober time, that I can’t bear to bring out the Easter activities until Easter Day, and the days thereafter. So, I limit myself further, in the days leading up to Easter, because I won’t indulge in Easter activities until Holy Week is over.
So, other than making (and putting away) our Alleluia banners on Ash Wednesday, we haven’t done a whole lot of special stuff in school. I managed to find a few things for this week–on Monday, we read That’s My Colt, which is a cute story about the donkey that Jesus used on Palm Sunday. Yes, we did read to the end, and the Easter part of the story, but most of the book took place during Holy Week, so I’m OK with that.
We read the Maundy Thursday texts from Matthew yesterday, and we baked our own unleavened bread to have with dinner last night. We’ll read Good Friday texts from the Bible today, but I can’t come up with an appropriate activity–a craft project of a cross seems somehow too whimsical for such a solemn day. I think we’ll also read our Mouse Prints: Journey Through the Church Year: The Time of Easter Book–those books are excellent for preparing children for the differences they’ll see in the church season by season; the decorations, parament changes, etc.
I do have a few projects for next week, after we’ve celebrated the Resurrection. Of course, we’ll be getting our Alleluia banners out of hiding (Sunday, if I remember), and hanging them up. We’re also going to be making coffee filter butterflies, and maybe hand-print Easter lilies (which are very similar to a craft I distinctly remember making when I was in the second grade!). We’ll also be reading The Very First Easter, from beginning to end, and shortly following that up with The Very First Christians, once we get to Pentecost.
I sure thought that ideas would be more forthcoming on this highest festival of the church, but it seems as if the world has taken it over, even more so than it has Christmas. Sad, and quite a challenge for people like me. If I was a more creative type, I would come up with my own craft projects, and share them with the world, so other moms wouldn’t face the same “teacher’s block” that I’ve run across.
Batter all, hear that call. The time has come for one & all… To play ball. We are the members of the All American League. We come from cities near & far. We have got Canadians, Irish ones & Swedes. We are all for one, we are one for all, we are all American. Each girl stands, her head so proudly high. Her motto “Do or Die”. She is not the one to use or need an alibi. Our chaperones are not too soft, they are not too tough. Our managers are on the ball. We have got a president who really knows his stuff. We are all for one, we are one for all, we are all American. A League of Their Own
Man, I did love this game. I’d have played for food money. It was the game… The sounds, the smells. Did you ever hold a ball or a glove to your face?…I used to love travelling on the trains from town to town. The hotels… brass spittoons in the lobbies, brass beds in the rooms. It was the crowd, rising to their feet when the ball was hit deep. Shoot, I’d play for nothing! Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe Jackson in Field of Dreams
John Kinsella: Is this heaven?
Ray Kinsella: It’s Iowa.
John Kinsella: Iowa? I could have sworn this was heaven. John and Ray Kinsella in Field of Dreams
This week, on “The World of sports”: When the boys are overseas, and off to war, baseball pitches in for the war effort. Trading bats for bullets, Yankees star Joe DiMaggio promises to give those Nazis a jolt. Ace fire baller, Bob Feller, has traded Cleveland gray for navy blue. Baseball biggest stars say: Look out Mr. Hitler, the Yanks are coming, not to mention the Indians, Red Sox, and Tigers. Radio Sportscaster in A League of Their Own
The following is a conversation I had with Ladybug at the end of last week, complete with her mispronunciations (and no, she doesn’t *actually* call her brother Moose! She does call him “guy” sometimes, though…).
Me: Who’s naughty? (had to clarify, because I thought she meant me at first!)
Me: (with relief that I’m not the naughty one)…Moose is naughty?
Me: What did Moose do?
I never did figure out what he did that counted as naughty, but she sure was insistent upon it for some time that afternoon!