Sitting in the minister’s office in Claremont on an Easter afternoon, gazing westward toward tomorrow on a gorgeous spring day today, I recall the last Easter I spent in Southern California. It was 2003. I was yet to begin ministerial school, I was studying at Agape, and in the early bloom of a 6 year restoration project in the Upper East neighborhood of Santa Barbara.
I can still recall the ambience of the second service at Agape wherein Niki Harris was pregnant and on the platform singing in a floor-length gown, belting really, something about “Walkin’ and Talkin’ with Jesus” and by God, I was certain I was too.
To say that Spirit was in the house is to say that water is in the ocean. It was simply an unbelievable moment where tribes of us, circling, dancing in the aisles, rocketing up with Niki’s energy, the house dark, the platform lights ablaze with color and the energy of an amazing community creating itself seemingly out of thin air, spinning a new story about resurrection and renewal, remembrance and letting go at about 111 bpm. We were burning away the past and opening up to the future. We were destroying it!
And here I am 9 years later, back in LA County, only this time as a minister developing my own incarnation of Spirit expressing through music and lights as a sacred community wraps itself around me as Begin Within.
I sit here, musing on the good of the past and on that pivotal point in my life when Easter Day began to mean something new, exploding the painful ones of memory into shattered stardust and illuminating a more peaceful and joyful pattern focused on retreat and renewal. The energy that day at Agape was like that, shattering and bright and transformative. The energy of this Easter Day is something else entirely. It’s softer and easier, unexpected even if more predictable.
Or is it?
Perhaps today’s softness is simply a function of requiring less force to move what back then was immovable and that today is now gone – my litany of wrongs, my tales of woe, my half-beliefs and lack, my wondering if I’d ever get it right, my wondering if I’d ever again fuse faith into the fabric of me.
Perhaps life gets softer and easier as we embrace it more openly and allow it to find us more easily. Perhaps when we stop hiding from it, the wind falls still, the fly stops buzzing, and the light, once again bright, returns as spring.