Monday, April 17, 2006

Celebrating the whole season

"He is risen!"
"He is risen indeed"
We chanted this exchange 3 times to start the sunrise Easter service. Having been to many Easter Sunday services in the past (probably 22 of them!) this service was different for me. In the past I had sparatically celebrated different aspects of the Lent season... I served the Seder meal on Maundy Thursday multiple times in high school, I learned about giving something up for Lent in college, and loved waving the palms on Palm Sunday as a little kid. However this is the first time in my life that I've ever celebrated the entire season of Lent by looking at all the specific Holy days as parts of a whole.
Lent begins with Ash Wednesday. Fuller held a service in which we were marked on our foreheads with ashes in the shape of a cross. The cross reminds us of Jesus' sacrifice and that the atonement allows us not to have to offer burnt sacrifices for our sins. The ashes also remind us that death comes to all, that we have sinned and need to better ourselves--hence this begins the Lent fast.
I had done the Lent fast before, giving up something or trying to starting a habit that I wanted to start. I've never been completely successful at keeping the fast but it is a cool way to be reminded of the Lent season each day.
Weeks later it was Palm Sunday, beginning Holy Week. There was a service filled with celebration as the story of Jesus triumphantly entering Jerusalem was told. The kids waved palms as the choir and congregation sang joyfully--we all left the church rejoicing.
Funny enough I had a paper due in my Medieval Reformation Church History class that Wednesday examining the original arguments of two theologians explaining the atonement--specifically why did God become human? And why did He die? After hours of reading and writing about their arguements I went to San Marino's Maundy Thursday/Good Friday service [it was combined this year for]. What stuck out most in my mind was the Good Friday part of the service. Good Friday commemorates Jesus' death. Using the service of Tenebrae, members of the church took turns reading verses that told of the steps leading up to Jesus' death and eventually Jesus' death. After each scripture passage a candle was blown out and a light was turned off in the sanctuary. Finally there was only one candle left--the Christ candle and that was temporarily hidden to symbolize what had seemed to be the triumph of evil over good. We all left the sanctuary in the dark and in silence. It was incredibly powerful.
On Saturday night I helped out with an overnighter for the youth of San Marino. They help to run the sunrise service and it is a tradition for them to stay up all night. Needless to say there was little sleep involved... However once outside Easter morning the joy came as we proclaimed together that yes, "He is risen!" I later went to the traditional service to see the trumpets and choir and beauty that adored the sanctuary after we had left it in such a depressing way on Thursday night. I later celebrated Easter dinner with a family at San Marino and some Fuller friends...and then I slept, a LOT. All in all it was a fabulous Easter day but more so, it was an amazing experience to celebrate the whole season Lent!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Baseball, Sunsets, and San Marino

I spent from 2pm Thursday till 12pm Saturday with the fabulous junior highers of San Marino Community Church. Becca, her boyfriend Gavin and I went with 6 junior high kids on a local mission trip around Pasadena. We slept at the church. Durin the day, we did services around Pasadena including running sports and arts for 60 inner city kids (by far the hardest part of the trip--whew paper mache is not a smart craft to lead for that many kids!), yardwork and hanging out at a retirement community/nursing home, and gardening at a homeless shelter for new moms. We also sent the kids on a scavenger hunt around Target with a strict budget to buy various items along with dinner for themselves and a homeless person. The point of the trip was to show the kids that missions doesn't have to be done in some far away place, we did it 10 minutes down the road. It was a great a time of hanging out and getting to know the kids. On another note--I officially became a member of San Marino Community Church today. In many ways Third Pres in Richmond is still my church home but I needed to join a church out here in order to start the ordination process for the Presbyterian church. I'm excited to get to know the community at San Marino even more. Below is a picture of our group at the Montavista Grove retirement community.

My very first sunset!! After getting back from the junior high mission trip I went to Malibu for th evening with Sarah and her friend from home. We bought food and watched the sunset over the Pacific. I've seen the sun rise on the East Coast numerous times but this was the first time I had seen the sun set over the ocean on the West Coast. It was gorgeous!
The first weekend of the Spring quarter the Presbys went to a Dodgers vs. Angels game. It was part of their exhibition. It was a ton of fun being with the Presbys but perhaps one of the most boring baseball games I've ever seen. Not a single run was made by either team! We entertained ourselves in many ways but one was with a digital camera. Here are Sarah, Paul, Emily, Reese, and Sophie.