easter celebration

I celebrated Easter this year at the Collegium Oecumenicum in a way I never have before. Three of us planned an Osterwach – an Easter Vigil – the whole night leading up to Easter morning, to which we invited our student residence. Quite a few folks joined us at the beginning of the vigil, but by the end, only we three remained.

Starting at 9 PM, we lit the candle, and held our first devotion of the evening. In our devotions throughout the night (at 9, 11, and 1) we reflected on the question, “What does resurrection mean to me?”

In between devotions, we participated in different activities, including painting eggs, baking an Easter bread, coloring Easter mandalas, and doing some energizing yoga at the end of the long night to help us stay awake.
our painted Easter eggs and chocolate lamb
the Easter bread, with symbols of the sun and the cross
Paula and Julius, my fellow planners, coloring mandalas together
some finished Easter mandalas
Finally, at 4:45 AM, we broke off to go to a congregation nearby that had an Easter service at 5:30 AM. The service started in the pitch dark, then we lit candles and celebrated the liturgy by candlelight until the sun rose. After the service, we went to an Easter breakfast held by the congregation.
Back at the Collegium Oecumenicum that afternoon… after a long nap… we celebrated with a big potluck meal, sang Easter hymns together, and had an Easter egg hunt (in the snow!) then played games together into the evening. It was a joyful day!
the buffet
pretty Easter decorations, courtesy of Hannah Joy
Anni, Hannah Joy, Paula, and me
Easter hymns
the Easter Egg hunt
game time!

Like Christmas, this was a memorable holiday in Germany.

For my devotion, “What does resurrection mean to me?,” I shared from Jesus’s post-resurrection encounter of Simon Peter in John 21. After Jesus meets with and feeds the disciples on the sea shore, he asks Peter (the one who had denied him just days before) 3 times, “Do you love me?” Peter answers again and again, “Of course, you know I love you.” Jesus responds: “Feed my lambs. Tend my sheep. Feed my sheep.”

Resurrection means, to me, that we serve a living God. And when we answer, “Yes, we love you, Jesus,” then we too, like Simon Peter, are beckoned to follow – to feed and to care for the flock.

May we learn to love and serve the children of the resurrected Lord!

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