Tag Archives: Easter
We had a wonderful Easter this year. We’ve been celebrating Easter in our backyard for over 30 years now (way before we had a backyard to celebrate in) because we believe that nothing is worth celebrating more than the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ (see 1 Corinthians 15).
Easter was especially meaningful for me this year. It started with our Ash Wednesday event at College Avenue Baptist Church called “Journey to Golgotha,” which kicked off the season of Lent, the 46 days leading up to Easter, during which I try to observe each year with a fast of some kind and time for reflection and spiritual discipline. This year I read a surprisingly good book by Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) titled Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection which unpacks the last week of Jesus’ life on earth. My brother Jim sent me the book as a gift and quite honestly, not being Catholic, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a sitting Pope. But this book was rich, touched my heart and gave me numerous insights into the Gospel narrative, harmonizing the four Gospels to provide a thorough commentary on the last week of Jesus’ life before his ascension.
Easter Sunday was a great day at church. As I usually do on Easter, I put on a coat and tie to wear to church. I know it’s old school (hardly anybody at church wears a coat and tie anymore) but for some reason I just feel like Easter is a day worth dressing up for. After I got all spruced up, our 4-year-old grandson Jack took a look at me and shouted out, “Mommy look! Grandpa’s a … MAN!” We got a good laugh out of that.
Marci and I volunteered to sing in the Easter choir (our worship pastor needed a few extra voices) and it was really great to look out at a full sanctuary while singing classic Easter hymns like “Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee” and “Christ Arose.” After the choir performed the song “Redeemer,” Marci and I took seats on the front row and listened to our pastor, Carlton Harris, who delivered an inspired Easter message on Matthew 16:13-20. Right in the middle of his sermon however, a cell phone went off nearby and in horror we realized it was in Marci’s purse. She fumbled around trying to find it, but it just kept on ringing … loud. I wanted to stomp on her purse and make it stop but I couldn’t reach it. Finally she found it and turned it off. After the service, Marci apologized to Pastor Carlton and thankfully he was very understanding and kind to her.
After the sermon, the choir and orchestra and other members of the congregation performed the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah. I’ve always thought that this was was (and is) the greatest piece of music ever written so I was a little nervous about trying to sing it. Usually I just sit (stand, actually) and listen and am always moved to tears. I’ve always wanted to sing it, however, so I decided to give it a try. I went to choir rehearsal on Wednesday night and discovered that I had no idea how to read that music. Since the choir seemed a little short on tenors, I decided to be a tenor. But the Hallelujah Chorus is an incredibly complicated piece of music and during rehearsal, I felt like a musical moron. I couldn’t find my part at all. So I came home a bit embarrassed and humbled.
The next day, however, I decided to see if there wasn’t some way I could learn that part by Sunday morning. I searched the internet and happily discovered a YouTube video which had the Hallelujah chorus with the tenor part only! I downloaded it, put the audio on my iPod and listened to it about 50 times Friday and Saturday as I worked around the house. Actually it was really cool to be getting ready for Easter with the Hallelujah Chorus playing over and over in my head.
I was still a little unsure of myself during rehearsal on Sunday morning … but during the actual performance at the end of our worship service … I nailed it. Hallelujah indeed!
We headed home right after church and finished getting everything ready for our guests who started arriving around 12:30. Most didn’t leave until 5:30 or so. there was lots of good food and good music and good fellowship with people we love. It was a happy day, perfect for celebrating the happiest day in the history of the world.
When I was two years old, my father made a recording of me on a 78 rpm record. I have no idea how he did this, since I don’t remember that he ever possessed a recording device that would make 78 rpm disks. Nevertheless, I do have a disk labeled “Wayne at age 2″ which was given to me by my mother in a box of old photographs and other memorabilia from my childhood.
I wasn’t sure exactly what was on that record until last year when I had a studio in town transfer it to CD. As I listened to it, I must admit that I got a little bit emotional. What I heard was my mother prompting me to sing the old gospel song “He Lives.” I had heard stories about me singing this song at a very early age, but I had no recollection of it. So this recording was a revelation to me. So, with Easter on the way, I thought I’d post it here with deep thanks to my mother and father for not only teaching me a song which I still sing to this day, but also for teaching me about Jesus who indeed “lives within my heart.”
Well, actually it was another bluegrass Easter at our house this year, but a major earthquake in Baja California (Mexico) had things “all shook up” for a few seconds. It happened while our band was playing the Cherokee Shuffle. Everyone looked a bit startled by the whole thing but we just kept on playing and everyone enjoyed the ride.
We were blessed with another beautiful day for our annual celebration of Easter. We are so grateful that Sunday was warm and sunny (75 degrees). The next day (Monday), a cold front came through and it rained all day.
This year marks the 30th year we have hosted our Easter party. Actually, we were afraid we wouldn’t be able to do it this year as we had some serious damage around our house from winter storms. But we finally decided to give it a shot about three weeks before Easter and it turned out to be one of the best ever with the earthquake adding an exclamation point to the festivities. He is risen indeed!
For more pictures, go here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wayne_rice/sets/72157623667669379/
We had a great time on Easter Sunday celebrating the Resurrection with a back yard full of family and friends. The weather was perfect, the food was delicious and joyful bluegrass music was heard all over our neighborhood. I’ve posted a few pictures on Flickr.
I hope we can continue hosting this event every year. I love Easter and I know everyone enjoys being with us in our back yard which is always green and colorful with the flowers in bloom. I’m a little worried about how the economy will affect us in the future–and whether we’ll be able to keep our yard in “party shape” for another year. Water rates are being increased significantly where we live so we’ll have to cut back and let some things go. And we no longer have a gardener to help us out. So we’ll do our best to keep things growing and hopefully next year the celebrating will continue. He is risen indeed!
I love Easter and and the season leading up to it. From Ash Wednesday, the entire 43-day season of lent, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Day, it’s a special time of the year to reflect on the price that was paid for our salvation on the Cross of Christ and to celebrate the hope that we have because He lives!
Every year we celebrate in our back yard with food, fun and some good bluegrass music. If you’d like to come this year, let me know and we’ll put you on our guest list. To see some pictures from last year, click here.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our our Lord Jesus Christ who in his great mercy has given us a new birth into a living hope through the Resurrection of Christ from the dead!” (1 Peter 1:3)