On Easter Sunday our 14 year old granddaughter Maren was one of the acolytes at the first service. She is tall and poised and always brings a level of confidence and assurance to whatever she does, even if she doesn't feel that way. Obviously, I am proud of her, and what is more, even if she weren't my granddaughter, I would notice her and want to know her.
She is one of my teachers, and on Easter Sunday she taught me without knowing it about processionals.
Processions are marches with some degree of pageantry. Think of wedding processions, for example. Or think of a funeral where the casket is carried forth from the back of a place of worship to the front. Those in the procession are individual units and have a role and are expected to perform their role with awareness, dignity, and yes, confidence. At the same time each person in the procession is part of a whole, and that whole moves forward together, passing those who have gathered to honor or celebrate or pay tribute.
My eyes were drawn to Maren, but the procession was not about her. The qualities she brought to her task that morning, however, reminded me why I was there. We had lived through the Lenten season and Holy Week one more time and now I was there to rejoice in the Easter message. I was there to continue a tradition, to deepen my understanding of the good news I cherish and believe, and to carry that into the world. I have a role, but I am also a part of the whole.
Somehow seeing Maren in the middle of the procession, doing her part, reminded me that each of us is a component of the great procession.
NOTE: I am taking a day off and won't post on Thursday, April 27. I will be back on Tuesday, May 2.