Sunday, March 23, 2008

Baptist Easter in Ireland

This was the strangest and most disappointing Easter service I've ever been to. Easter is the highlight of the Christian religious calendar. Usually people go over the top in trying to cram things into the celebration; at the very least there's just more stuff going on. But, I left this service with my mouth (almost literally) hanging open, thinking "What just happened?"

Today was apparently "Family Sunday", so there were a couple of stories for the kids. But then.... nothing. No sermon. None. At all. On Easter, the most spiritually meaningful date on the Christian calendar! What were they thinking? And then, to just totally round out the weird picture, there was also no communion service. They always have a communion service. Every. Single. Sunday. It's one of the things I really do like about this church and prefer over my old one.

Usually I try and hold in my frustrations over ways this church just doesn't compare to mine in North Carolina. It's only normal, right, that the familiar seems better than the new, that the new seems not quite as good? I understand that the size difference, the culture difference, makes this like comparing apples and kumquats, but I still want my apple!

So, things I spent quite a bit of time missing about Chapel Hill Bible Church's Easter season activities today:
  • Stations of the Cross in the weeks leading up to Easter
  • Singing celebration songs and waving palms on Palm Sunday
  • Lighting a new candle every Sunday
  • Maundy Thursday service, so meditative and emotional
  • The joyful and celebratory atmosphere on Easter
  • Audience members being invited up to join the choir in singing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah
  • A relevant sermon
  • A sermon