The Readings for the Easter Vigil are rich, full, and deep. Re-presenting, telling our faith history all in one moment. When all of the readings are included, there are options, the Mass is quite long. It’s also my favorite Mass of the year. This Mass contains within it the breadth and depth of who we are, particularly when there are Candidates (those who have not been Baptized) and Catechumens (those who have been Baptized but have not been received into full-communion in the Church for some reason). This is the Mass where we sing Hallelujah for the first time since the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. Over the course of the week the Church is emptied of decoration, statues are covered over, and the Eucharist removed from the Sanctuary to a Chapel. The Church is empty, bare, barren.
To be somewhat crass, tonight is a grand party, a celebration fit for a King! It’s all smells (incense) and bells and Hallelujah’s all around.
This celebration begins outside with the New Fire being lit, the Paschal candle is lit from this fire, and brought into a dark Church. The Church is then slowly lit from back to front, each person sharing the fire from the Paschal candle. It’s quite the beautiful experience. The highlight of the Celebration is the reception of the Sacraments by the Candidates and Catechumens. This is 23 years for me and I still remember the fragrance of the Oil and first Holy Communion. I can see that moment, experience that joy.
It also means that I’ve been quilting for 22 years. Earlier this week I had the privilege of sharing part of my quilting history with a local quilt guild. Telling the stories keeps quilting alive, fresh and present. With each story, the experience of making that quilt becomes real to me. The quilt, though inanimate, becomes alive in my mind. I can see searching desperately for that 50th piece of chocolate, felting the wool batting, stitches that are big enough to catch toes, tote bag after tote bag quilted and stitched. Seeing your quilting history right there in front of you is a great reminder. That quilting takes work. That the work is worth it. That the journey sometimes goes in unexpected places. That the journey is the thing. And the memory of the journey is just as important. That reflecting on the journey allows me to see something important – that I’m a quilter like everyone else. That sharing what I do helps me see that. I like being a quilter. I like what happens inside my head: the fear, the insecurity, the doubt, the second-guessing. I like the other stuff that happens inside my head the trust, the yes, the willingness to try new things, over time, when I’m ready to take the risk.
Celebrate the Beauty that is the journey of Faith and Quilting!