Today is Good Friday. We have a worship service at 3.00 p.m. Sunday is Easter. We will have our two worship services, one at 10.00, the other at 12.00. It is important for us to create a contrast of experience between Good Friday and Easter and one of the ways we do this is through the mood and decorations of the services. On Good Friday, we have a very muted sanctuary. The altar cloth is dark, the candles are black, the only flowers are a single red rose signifying the blood of Christ. We do a Choral Reading with 6 different readers taking us through the Passion of the Christ. We end in darkness and silence and there is no fellowship hour that follows.
When folks return for Easter Sunday they will encounter a totally different sanctuary! Filled with light and flowers, a white cloth on the altar, the sense of re-birth, new life, and hope is at full throttle. I love intentionally walking through this weekend. And one of my responsibilities is to gather the goods needed to create this sensory experience.
So yesterday I ventured down to the outdoor market at Hötorget, a short 15 minute walk from our house and found my favorite vendors. They know that I come before Easter and buy A LOT of flowers! It was good to see them as I had not been down there in quite some time. I carefully choose white star lilies hoping that they will be open by Easter morning. I couldn't resist these wonderful pinkish-purplish roses alongside of the white roses. And what would Easter morning be like without fresh tulips?! I loaded up my cart, asked the vendors where they would celebrate Easter and wished them a Glad Påsk (happy Easter). Not only did they give me a wonderful discount on the flowers, as I was leaving, one of the guys brought me a bouquet of 10 white/pinkish roses as a thank you and wished me a Glad Påsk as well. It was such a wonderful bonus as I went on my merry way. Our house is now fragrantly alive with the flowers that have to wait a few more days to grace our sanctuary. Today is the day for the red rose, the black candles and the dark altar cloth. We must enter into death to really appreciate the resurrection. I do wish you a Glad Påsk, but I hope you can sit with Good Friday first.