Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My Easter Alleluia 2009- Chris Jackson

I stirred blearily on Easter morning to a remote buzz. Thinking slowly, thick headed. Huh. … uh, phone. In a blurr I locate my glasses -. right where I need them. God is good I recall to myself. With morning eyes, even with the help of the bed lamp, it’s so hard to read! ‘Happy Easter.’ Sandy, my beautiful boy; in Noosa for the weekend, is the first to call. I smile; content, and text back with kisses…and my Easter signature: ‘Alleluia.’’ Repeat text to his siblings in Uk and Sydney... no immediate response.

I’m content if we keep in contact! It’s deliciously early enough for a sleep in and still time to wash my hair and get to church by 9.10am. I’m to do the second reading and need time to reflect and prepare. Want to get the emphasis right.

Light rain is pattering. What a beautiful start to Easter…and we’re not camping!! Cuppa; read the paper; little nod off and then, enough indulgence. Bounce out of bed. Ron asks if I’m ok if he goes earlier. He has to sing and wants to go over the psalm. He is also helping with the morning tea, filling in for someone away for the hols. I smile and admire his ownership of the morning tea roster. He’s a doer, that man.

I’m out the door, ready for the day. My heart feels light and I’m excited. After the sadness reflecting on Good Friday, I really feel the joy of Easter Sunday, like a rising bubble. I am half expecting my friend Patty B. but will completely understand if she can’t make it. I just love it that my dear Anglican friend wants to come to my worshipping catholic community.

We have been to church together on our road trip and shared conversations of faith and the spirit and goodness of Jesus and the much maligned Mary, his mother. She’s the daughter of an Anglican Priest and no one does candles like Patty!!

I am welcomed by the meeters and greeters. Warm smiles and Happy Easters abound. You see, there is something special about today. My friend Lorraine asks if I would be a special minister.

“Love to, but I’m reading.”

“Don’t worry, there’ll be others to ask” she reassures.

I make my way to the sacristy where Richard and Mauve are discussing the readings.

“I‘m here for David.” The wide eyed response tells me this is news to them.
“David said he couldn’t read and that’s why were here.”

Back off. They have it all in hand.

“That’s good,” I respond, “because I might be needed as a special minister”. I tell Lorraine I’m right to assist.

I’m a little early and scan the crowd for my friend PB. She is always early. If she’s not here now, she probably won’t be coming. Momentarily drop lip but that’s ok.

Ron is busy ‘talking choir’ to the team. I see my friends A& L, and feel drawn to sit with them. We were at their wedding last night.

“Congratulations again.”

Kisses. Hugs. “Happy Easter.” Look along the pew to see Margaret and her husband, L’s half brother , a Pentecostal minister, who married them last night, in the presence of his birth mother, L’s 82 year old mother. He met for the first time only weeks ago. But that’s another story. It is also one of the reason’s I feel so happy, I muse.

Happy Easter. Big smiles.

Mass begins to Thea’s announcement, “This mass is our Alleluia.”

Yes, that’s my Easter theme. All is in sync and that inner bubble rises. I crane my neck looking for my friend PB. I sing loud... So happy. Feel slightly sorry for Peter in front of me, but I don’t change the volume. I take in the mixture of the crowd. Children, oldies, families with teenagers. Many have come out today. Lots of familiar faces and also many new to me. We have tried to squash together to fit everyone inside but many are outside and I’m glad the sound system carries to them.

Every word seems so significant.

The readers hold my attention. I wonder if my friend is here to witness my cherished community swelled for the Easter celebration of new life. I am also wondering why an overhead light is swinging so widely. Is that safe?

My friend Lorraine turns and says, “Carol has turned up we don’t need you.”

“OK” I say. Happy to be the relief. I sing the Alleluia even louder.

Mass continues. The effervescent Deacon Gary fires up. That man is never down. I love his love of life and spirit of enthusiasm. Looking for my friend...

“Oh stop it,” I say to myself, “concentrate on the Mass.”

Father Neil’s rich voice penetrates the morning. My goodness his ‘prayer to the minute’ count must be record cracking.

Anne leaves her seat to assist with the presentation of the gifts.

“Can you come and give me a hand?” she says. “I might need you.”

Head down, I turn to follow dutifully. “No, don’t need you.” Lindsay has picked up on the number of rejections and says, “Can you cope with all this rejection?”

“I’m happy to be the back-stop girl” I smile.

Peace be with you arrives and I turn with purpose to greet. And the people part to reveal my friend Patty Beecham, with her wink of reassurance.

“Peace be with you”. As I fall to my knees ready for communion Lorraine beckons me.

“We need you.” She points,. “Five 5 Chalices today- big crowd,”

“Fine.” I rise immediately. Head for the alter. Bow. Ascend. Wash hands. I know I don’t have to but it feels right for me.

“Lamb of God”. I look up directly in to the distant face of my friend PB. She nods and beams and for some reason I feel more than words can tell. Maybe it is as simple as our shared sense that God is good.

I share the precious blood from the Chalice that contains the precious stones donated by many women in the parish, and I’m pleased I know that. There is a strong bond to our past that binds our people today. I am delighted to share this with my friend when she appears in front of me. To serve is a joy.

I return to sit with my friend for the final hymn.

‘This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be Glad.’

And I am. We sing loud. Together.

Back in the kitchen, I help Ron and the team with morning tea. And Patty takes photos, of course.

“Happy Easter.” And I hum Alleluia, (the nuns chorus from the Sound of Music).

God is good! Again!!

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