Saturday, April 15, 2006

Happy Easter

Today I have waxed nostalgic. I've been thinking of years past, and I remembered something that happened when I was in 7th or 8th grade.

Catholics have a devotion called the "Stations of the Cross". If you've ever been in a Catholic sanctuary, you will usually see the "Stations of the Cross" hanging on the walls, spread throughout the room. There are... getting rusty here... 14 or 15 stations. A group of worshipers will visit each station, usually there is a leader who leads the prayers, and you move from one to the next, to the next.

This is something that today, at Easter time, I miss. Why? That I can tell you in one word: tradition! (sorry, Fiddler relapse) It's something I did every year growing up, but haven't thought of for years... until today.

In 7th or 8th grade, our class conducted the stations of the cross for the students in our school (this was a Catholic school, remember). We did this in the school's gymnasium. I don't recall who lead the prayers, but I know many of my classmates and I were in costume, acting out the scenes of the cross. Somehow I worked my way up the corporate ladder, starting as an apostle in our first rehearsal but later filling the role of Jesus.

I remember a few things... I remember that all of the students were remarkably quiet. Looking back, that is rather amazing. I remember my friend Chris, who was playing one of the apostles, holding a staff. Here he was in a cloak, holding a staff, and my eyes zeroed in on his digital watch with built in calculator. Just as I was leaving the room where we changed clothes, another friend had grabbed my arm and took my watch off.

But one thing I remember the most was around station 11 or 12... This was the hardest part, trying to hold my arms out at 90 degree angles without moving them.. and holding them... and holding them... must.. keep.. arms.. up.

It may seem silly, but I remember that day with fond memories. It was an honor for me to stand in that place, in that role.

There aren't many things I miss from my Catholic days. Well, other than church on Saturday night so you can sleep in the next day, and don't forget about 50 minute Sunday services, and... ahem. Sometimes--not all the time--I do miss the ritual and tradition surrounding the "holy days" of Christmas and Easter, which for me served as a way to frame my thoughts for the true meaning of the holidays.

Happy Easter, my friends.


At April 14, 2006 5:42 PM, Blogger White Shores said...

I love this post. I think that it is a great memory for you to have!

I am a "lifer" (I think you know that) but my hubby is not. He was raised Catholic, though they rarely went when he was growing up. However, his mom is now... well, she doesn't really know what she is. But she often attends the church at the end of her street and I think it's Presbyterian (sp?). We have on a few occasions attended their "midnight mass" (though they called it something else) on Christmas Eve. I really liked it. And if it were more practical (being up at midnight on Christmas Eve when you have kids is not practical to me, lol) and we were there visiting on Christmas, I would want to do it.

I think it is okay to hold onto some traditions that have real meaning to us, even if they come from a culture or religion that we don't live anymore.

At April 15, 2006 7:52 AM, Blogger Barbara said...

I agree about holding on to special traditions. Didn't the prophet counsel members, especially converts, to consider their traditions from other cultures and to keep the ones that uplift and inspire?

Sometimes I feel like we Mormons could do with a little more tradition. It seems that one Sunday is very much like another. Not necessarily a bad thing. But it doesn't always seem "special". I know, every Sunday is special.

We try to develop family traditions. I guess that is the general idea, isn't it?

This year we started a new one - April 6 dinner - pulse, homemade bread, grapes, olives, foods that remind us of the food Christ might have eaten.

Last night for Good Friday, we watched a video on Christ's last days. (I thought about the stations of the cross even though I know practically nothing about them)

This evening we will make Resurrrection Cookies (see Sariah's blog for the 11th, I think).

I keep forgetting each year to get out my Easter advent eggs. Each egg has a little item or picture and related scripture about Christ's life, teachings, and atonement. Theoretically, you open and consider one each day for 12 days leading to Easter. Maybe we will look at several or all of them today when we make the cookies.

Happy Easter!

At April 18, 2006 6:13 PM, Blogger Val said...

Resurrection cookies sound like such a great idea. I saw it on Sariah's blog as well and I sure keep it in my mind for my future family traditions... I do also watch every Easter a movie about the life of Jesus :) It's very inspiring.


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