Thursday, April 16, 2009

Holy Week at Bethany

I can't remember a time where I enjoyed a Holy Week more than this past one! I have to admit, even Lent was more bearable this year - I was focused on my daily Bible study and thoroughly enjoyed the daily devotions via podcasts produced by my pastor. I was introduced to the work of a new musician, Peter Mayer, and have found that I enjoy his melodic, soothing tunes. They provided just the right backdrop to the Biblical texts of Lent.

Palm Sunday services allowed congregation members to take a quick study of the 14 stations of the cross. The stations were brought to life by the needlepoint group at my church. I so enjoyed the service, that I attended both the 8:00 and 9:00 am services, thus the two palm branches!

Maundy Thursday brought a touching service where 53 third graders received their First Communion. Celebrating the Last Supper, the pastors washed the feet of these young children - it was so sweet. The families of Bethany received communion with their children - it was an endearing sight. Another evening of great music and reflection. It was a wonderful, full-circle moment to sit with Marie, as we had begun our Lenten journey over a month ago at the Ash Wednesday service, and here we were singing together again.

Pastor Ron displayed amusing church signs throughout the week, inviting anyone who passed the church via Hampden Avenue to check out our congregation and join us for Easter.Good Friday set the true tone for the coming of Easter, and the stripping of the altar was a powerful experience. To lose both light and the visual decor was a reminder of why this was such a commanding day in history. It was great to meet Marie's mother, who attended this solemn evening service. Both the cellist from Ash Wednesday and Bethany's Chancel Choir added their skill and artistry to the night.

Saturday's Easter Vigil gets its own blog entry. Why? For many hippo and fire related reasons.

Easter Sunday - what a wonderful day! I awoke at 4:30 am, wanting to go to the Sunrise service. Looking outside at the pouring rain, then at the forecast on my laptop, I opted to instead attend the 7:30 am service, as the sun would not be making an appearance at 6:00 am as I had hoped.

What wonderful music - The Aries Brass Quintet played Mozart's Alleluia with speed and precision, a truly wonderful prelude to what would be a musical morning. The church was PACKED, as in 'everyone, please move to the center of the aisle' kind of packed.
Bethany's choir again added to the musical ambiance.
What a wonderful way to celebrate the Resurrection!

Sunday's Easter meal was celebrated at the Herrell's home - 17 people in all, including a bunch of wiggly, giggly, happy little girls! Ross finally had some male company with a darling 6 month old baby, the son of a family friend, who joined us for the afternoon. The meal, the company, the day was a great blessing! Happy Easter!

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