He is risen. Yes, He is. Praise God because this is where our hope is found, right? And, the songs are really good on Easter Sunday. We walked out to 'Nothing But the Blood of Jesus' and I chose to sing the Amy Grant version which some of my family pointed out didn't match the choir.
Some of us do have the Amy Grant library on speed dial in our memory, so those who don't . . .sorry. I'm here whenever you need me. 'Everywhere I go, I hear your voice clear and loud.' I think that refers to God's voice to Amy, but you can hear my voice quite clear and quite loud if you would like.
Getting ready for Easter Sunday is involved. There are the clothes. The hair cuts. Making sure the shoes fit because you really don't want to have to buy new ones unless you really need to. The basket goodies. The egg hunt planning. The cleaning. The setting up of the table with your grandmother's china. The cooking.
Oh, wait. I opted out of that this year. I made the big statement of 'I'm not cooking this year because I just don't want to and so let's go out to eat.'
Talk about fourth parts popping up all over. No need to shop for Easter food or plan dishes! No gently asking my family to clean the bathrooms and vacuum the floors! No hand washing dishes! No ironing tablecloths and napkins!
I did have to find a restaurant that had food 11 of us would eat. We range from my parents to my seven-year-old girls. We have likes and dislikes galore. I just wanted to make sure there were mimosas with cava or prosecco or champagne . . .anything bubbly.
After a few Open Table searches, Googling and frantic phone calls, we found a familiar spot close to church. Easy. Walk out of church (singing Amy Grant versions of songs), hop in the car and drive a few miles to a restaurant we have enjoyed several times. And, the menu. Sweet Jesus who is risen, there was a nutella dessert, mimosas and cheese pizza. Oh, and salmon with gnocchi, some goat cheese and pasta. Fixed price, four courses and they would take us. Yes, all 11. At a normal lunch hour time.
With a skip in our step, we made it to the restaurant and began our journey that ended three hours after it started and didn't include free mimosas or gnocchi or ricotta cake. We could get a mimosa for $5 (wasn't on the pdf menu we received). We could substitute pasta for the gnocchi. Not really the same, you know. And, since the ricotta cake ran out and it was going to take a while to make a new one, how about a tiramisu parfait with biscotti croutons and a heavy splash of coffee. Or mixed berries in a spoonful of mascarpone. Ugh. If only the mimosas weren't $5, I would have ordered and downed a few more.
Yes, we still enjoyed being there -- no dishes to wash or bathrooms to clean -- but the slow service with the 20 percent gratuity included made me think it's 'Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus' who will help us pay for this bill (Amy has a version by the way. Again, I can sing it for you.). Also, having iPhones to laugh at memes and watch videos helped. We didn't search for Amy songs, but we did find my brother-in-law's how to fix a stackable washer rotation thing-a-ma-bob. (He has 10,000 views. Come on.)
We did laugh a lot, told a few stories, included Seinfeld references as always and I even learned about baseball. It was a good family gathering. It wasn't as good as hearing an angel tell you Jesus isn't here, He is risen, but it was good. Plus, I don't know that Jesus would have sat around for three hours to eventually munch on some crunchy biscotti that should have been lady fingers when he was really hoping for a lemon ricotta cake.
(The reason there was no more cake or gnocchi? The walk ins ate it all up. Huh? What? I had a reservation. They ate my food? We paid the same price? Anyone can take a reservation. But can you hold a reservation? Seinfeld every time.)
Yes, this is definitely a first world Easter brunch problem and on the actual Easter Sunday there were some bigger issues. I mean, the Marys and Salome and some other women woke up early to hit the market, scoop up some of those spices needed to preserve the body of Jesus and got there to see He was gone. They could have thrown down those spices and wondered why did they prepare? "I could have ordered something up on Amazon Prime and had it delivered in two days." Instead, they had an encounter like none other. I mean, an angel. And, Jesus. And, they got to tell the story to the disciples. They were the messengers. Nice. Powerful. Awesome.
I did come home and write up some Easter Sunday friendly reviews in Open Table, tweeted the chef and wrote an email. G left a voice mail and I think my sister will be doing the same. We had our own message to deliver and I believe it will be heard. Will it be written up in a book that is read for 1000s of years, probably not, but it's a message.
And, then the panic set in. Would I have a fourth part on this Sunday? Without china to wash and linens to pack away, I was supposed to have time. Time with my son home from college -- who went straight to a nap. Time with my girls -- who really wanted to play with their cousin and ride their bikes. All this was quickly fading from my dreams when I remembered, I could take a break. I could put down things and papers and documents and reminders and plans to be with my girls. I sat outside and watched them ride their bikes. I read a book in a chair on my front lawn with a lovely breeze on a great spring day.
Did the Marys, Salome and the other women get to sit once the news was delivered? Did they get to be with their family . . . I mean be with them? They had experienced some crazy, busy, supernatural times in the days leading up to the 'He is not here' message. Did they get a fourth part? What did they do with the spices? Did they meal prep for the week? Did they pull out a good book. Did they laugh?
I imagine they smiled even though they were pretty scared and overwhelmed. Isn't that how real joy hits you -- overwhelming excitement that can't be contained and comes out a little loud and a bit unabashed.
Kind of like the water that rushed forth when G tested the sprinkler. Uh oh. As I sat on my front lawn, planning how to re-plant and even buy some cool vintage chairs for the front beds, the gushing water out of a broken PVC pipe reminded me I had split it in half with some aggressive dead plant removal a few weeks prior. G was pretty calm about the whole thing and just turned off the water and walked off. I suggested duct tape. He just kind of looked at me and shook his head. He went to the back yard to hand water some plants.
Do you think that was a look the women received from some? We know how the disciples reacted. But what about others who heard through the grapevine. I know Jesus was pretty explicit in how Mary Magdalene was to deliver the messages, but how could she run back to those disciples dropping spices all around and people not talk? Did they go about their business after a weekend of activity that included a couple of earthquakes and some darkness in the middle of the day? Did they think, 'well, it's another day with these Marys.' Or did they wonder, what is going to happen now? What should I be doing?
Thankfully, G will fix the pipe and we will be sprinkler ready come this summer when the burning fire hot heat of the sun wants to fry all that is green. And, we'll be able to sit outside some of the evenings enjoying our family.
But, not at a restaurant down the street from church. We'll be having cocktails that aren't $5 and desserts that come with potential of yummy stickiness dripping off a cone. No need to substitute anything. No need to pay gratuity to someone.
We'll 'Stay for Awhile' and consider ourselves 'The Lucky One(s)'.