Also parsnips. They're delicious.
Our Easter meal was also delicious. Not so delicious was the Easter morning worship service we attended at Cole Community Church. This is the church we attend every Sunday and, while we have yet to actually meet anyone there, we go because the teaching is consistently outstanding. A team of elders leads the church rather than a head pastor, and these elders take turns preaching on Sunday mornings. (We do know that it's our duty to get involved and meet people, but we haven't gotten that far yet.)
The church states on its website that its worship services, while "seeker-friendly," are not evangelistic in nature. "...we gather to grow and scatter to befriend and seek the lost for Christ." This approach explains why we find the teaching to be so rich. The elder who gave the sermon on Easter seemed to be abandoning this stance in favor of a "It's a holiday and there's a lot of new people here who don't usually go to church" mindset. True enough. But instead of getting milk vs. solid food, it was like he was dishing up Kool-Aid.
A typical sermon at Cole, based on a Bible text, would include references to George MacDonald's book The Princess and the Goblin and the musical Man of La Mancha, and might feature exposition of the legal codes of the ancient world. Easter Sunday we had a sermon with references to James Cameron (of Titanic fame), David Copperfield, and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Not a word of scripture. Not to mention a choir that could not perform a single song without an obligatory a capella refrain.
My face is getting all red again now just thinking about it. Of course the familiar battle raged within me--I don't want to be one of those dreaded "consumer Christians" who pick a church solely based on how it meets their aesthetic and perceived spiritual needs and are always searching for the "perfect" church home. I'm sure there were far more people in that packed sanctuary who watch Extreme Makeover than read George MacDonald. But amid all those pop-culture references, I don't recall hearing and thrilling to the amazing news that a man who was also God DIED and CAME BACK TO LIFE! That good news was never actually explicated. I was embarrassed for the gospel. I felt like crying because the resurrection came across as...trite.
But there's not a disappointing worship service in the world that can change what Christ did and what we celebrate on Easter. So I'm over it.
The remainder of the Easter holiday was a celebration of the abundant life that Christ came to bring us. Shaun baked us some fancy-pants Easter bread that his mom usually makes. We thought it was a traditional Swedish recipe passed down in the family and turns out it's a Finnish recipe from a Sunset cookbook. Delicious, nonetheless. Key ingredients are butter, lemon and orange zest, almonds, golden raisins, rye flour, and cardamom. The fragrance is the essence of Easter.
Fitting for a day celebrating new life, the guest of honor was our newest friend in Idaho, a wee little lass of only 6 days old. There were decorated boiled eggs and plastic eggs with candy and packages and cards from faithful grandmas. Despite the fact that Nels thinks the Easter story is about a bunch of people shut up in a big mountain, it was a very well-received holiday.
"...I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly." John 10:10