I’ve had two great Easter celebrations: One in the classroom with my students, explaining to them the religious and secular traditions of this day, and then with the Chinese church community in Luzhou.
Easter lessons had us learning the meaning of this day for Christians, including religious symbols, and then the following week, taking care of the secular aspects of the day, such as the Easter bunny, chocolate eggs, coloring eggs, and Easter egg hunts.
Palm-Passion Sunday and Easter Sunday
Once again, being a member of the choir truly made my celebrations for Easter extremely special.
Our Chinese Luzhou church now has Palm-Passion Sunday, which was quite moving. We had many readings by 5 pastors, 2 who were visiting, and our two choirs (the elderly choir and our adult choir) gave our well-rehearsed anthems.
Our adult choir really had to work hard on that one: 2 1/2 hours of practice on Thursday night, then an extra hour in the morning from 8:30 – 9:30 before our director felt we were truly prepared and ready for worship.
The Palm-Passion service ran 3 hours. Many of the congregation and choir were so moved by the readings and our fervent prayers that they cried. We had many packets of tissues being passed throughout the choir and the congregation during our Passion-Palm Sunday.
Here are a few visuals.
The entire week before Easter had worship being held every morning, at 9:30, for those who could attend. Choir practice was held for us as usual on Thursday night. No special services that evening, just the choir going over the anthem for Sunday. Fortunately for me, our choir was singing a medley of familiar hymn tunes for me: He Arose, He Lives and The Old Rugged Cross. Just getting through the Chinese characters was a challenge, as always. Interestingly enough, the choir members had trouble not with the Chinese but with the tunes. Some Western tunes are not as familiar to the Chinese as they are for us. While the men struggled (and I mean really struggled!) to get the notes, I was the lead for the sopranos as I had all the right notes just not the right words sometimes.
Our cooperative efforts worked out well for practice but I must say that for our actual worship, we fell flat, literally and figuratively.
Such are choirs everywhere, I’m sure.
Easter itself, despite our anthem errors, was jubilant, especially as we had an exuberant message, baptisms, communion and stir-fried rice noodles plus a hard-boiled Easter egg were served to the entire congregation afterwards.
We started earlier on Easter Sunday so as to finish by noon. Over 800 were in attendance.
42 adults were baptized.
Our communion went very fast, with plenty of communion ushers serving everyone in the sanctuary.
Our church ladies certainly were busy cooking up huge vats of rice noodles all morning, plus boiling over 1,000 eggs the day before so everyone could receive an Easter egg before they left.
There was also the regular evening service for the young people from 7 – 9 p.m. I don’t usually attend the evening service but I received video and photo postings on my phone of the service.
In other words, a really bustling Eastertime at the Luzhou Protestant Church.
Hope all of you had a great Easter, too.