When I first saw the calendar for Easter this year I was a little disappointed when I learned that it landed on general conference weekend. Don’t get me wrong—I live for conference. It is like a mini Christmas morning for me. However, I do adore attending church on Easter Sunday. I like all of the kids in their Easter dresses and spring bowties that match with their dads. I like all of the family pictures outside of chapels that fill Instagram. And I love that my kids get sent home with Cadbury and Reese's mini eggs from Primary.
Above all those things (even the free candy), the thing I love most about attending church on Easter is sacrament meeting. Through the regular pattern of sacrament meeting, I feel like I get a chance to symbolically relive the first Easter weekend.
In the beginning of the meeting, I relive Atoning Thursday and Good Friday. Together, like the apostles gathered in the upper room of Jerusalem, we sing a somber hymn as we gather around the table of Jesus’ last supper. The emblems of his body are “bruised, broken, and torn” for us by the priests at the altar and we kneel with them, as it were, at the foot of Calvary’s cross. Together, as a congregation of disciples, we “shed a tear or two” for the death of our beloved Jesus. As the ordinance concludes and the priests cover the sacrament table with the white linen, I feel like I am joining with Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus, and other faithful disciples who tenderly took His body down from the cross and gently wrapped it in heavy linens and spices before His burial. From the moment I walk into the chapel and see the white draped over the emblems of His body, I feel like I have been invited into the tomb. Together we mourn and together we weep at the great suffering of our Redeemer.
And then we live Sunday. Through Easter sermons and Easter hymns of praise, together we sing and celebrate Jesus’ victory over death and sin. As if we were Mary in the garden, we hear His voice through the spoken word and our hearts dance with the anthems of hosanna and hallelujah! Mortal angels stand and declare that “He is risen” and hope floods the room like the morning rays of the first Easter Sunday. There is an assurance in that meeting that because Jesus died on Friday and broke the bands of death on Sunday everything is going to be okay. Hearts and homes can be healed. Faith and families can be restored. There are second chances. There are coming reunions. And all of our tears can be wiped away. There is reason to celebrate!
This year, even though I will miss the reliving of the first Easter weekend on the current Easter weekend, I still have two things to look forward to. The first is a unique pattern being relived this year that I would never trade. Just like the Easter Sunday from 2000 years ago, we will gather as saints and hear the testimonies of His special witnesses, His holy Apostles and faithful women, bearing record to the world that Jesus Christ rose from the grave. They will share the good news of Easter Sunday on Easter Sunday as if they had just returned from the garden tomb. And the second, of course, is that we all get to relive the joy of the Easter season each and every week as we gather around the table, memorialize His death, celebrate His redemption, and freely partake of His grace.
Lead image from lds.org
For powerful but simple ways your family can remember the Savior this spring, check out Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter.
Discover how the people around Jesus during the week of His Crucifixion and Resurrection can lead your family closer to Christ this Easter season. This children's edition of Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter will guide you through seven meaningful traditions inspired by the people closest to the Savior during His holy week. These simple experiences are not meant to add chores or stress to a reverent holiday season but to offer something different. They will give your family an opportunity to slow down from the candy and egg hunts and instead spend time reflecting on the Savior's ultimate sacrifice and triumphant Resurrection.
This interactive book invites children to get to know various people in Christ's life during those sacred days and to discover the lessons they learned in the encounters with Him. It encourages children to ask what they might have done if they had been there on the days when Jesus was crucified and resurrected. Seven colorful Easter ornaments have been created to accompany the lesson each person teaches. Displaying the ornaments throughout the Easter holiday will remind your children of the lessons they are learning from Christ's magnificent act.