Friday, April 26, 2013

7 quick takes

I started waking up half an hour earlier this week in the effort to have one half hour without the babies down my throat. I love them, obviously, but there isn't one moment of any day that I'm not holding one or talking to one or taking something away from one. So I thought, maybe if I start the day with a half an hour of quiet, I'll love them even more than I do already. Miraculously, though, after the first quiet morning, they figured out, perhaps through telepathy, that I was awake and readjusted their arising to mine yet again. So this week we have had the usual squall, beating me and each other as we all lie in bed together, shouting and pulling hair and generally doing that mixed marshal arts routine. After the initial 'lie in' they get up and roam around, covering themselves with bandaids, eating all the bananas, taking advantage of Alouicious' spaceball bat that he always leaves lying about. Then we all have a shower together and get dressed. And then they drape themselves over my back while I try to do school with the rest of the crew...for the rest off the day...until nine o'clock when they are finally wrestled into bed...even though they're not really napping any more...this sentence doesn't really have an end.
I did mean to say Spaceball. Alouicious is playing on a Little League team this 'spring' and every time he goes to get in the car for practice, Marigold flings herself on the floor and screams to be allowed to go to Spaceball Practice too. It's one of the three or four things that brings joy to the marathon that is Little League. The others include the good chocolate from Aldi on the way out to his practice (which is a Very Long Way Away), the fact that he's so happy about the whole enterprise, and the fact that no one can any longer accuse me of not doing anything fun. I'll be able to look back on this golden time when they're whining and crying and say, 'No No! Remember! Alouicious got to play baseball in the spring of 2013!'
I shouldn't have put spring in scare quotes. My tulips are finally blooming and I've been able to walk outside all week and the children, with coats on, have been able to eat lunch in the patch of sun out the back door.
My walk outside includes going up one light hill, down one side and then back up another and then home, a sort of undulating loop. Yesterday I had to carry my fat dog up the first slight hill because he sat down at the bottom and glared at me so that I was finally pulling him along on his derrière by the leash. But the person on the opposite walk was giving me a suspicious look so I picked him up and lugged him up the hill. Stupid dog. Every day when he sees its time for a walk he tries to go in the backyard and hide from me.
Matt has been spending his spare time trying to calculate how many acres of wheat it would take to feed a family of eight and where to buy a scythe. The last time we went through this I think it was potatoes. And he's been muttering to himself about goats and chickens. Just a heads up to the church.
I just want to grow a full yard of tomatoes and flowers and skip everything else. And I'd like a forsythia bush and a flowering cherry tree and some tall cypress trees growing up the wall of the church. But I don't really have time so tralala.
Really grateful for every day that life is quiet, dull even. The wide world is so full of heartbreak and woe and drama. Every day we quietly go about our duty is a day of real joy for me and a treasure to my brood. So strange to me how happy they are. I seem to remember crying through much of my tenth year. Elphine, on the other hand, only cried recently because she caught herself in the eye with a piece of paper. Where is her deep well of sorrow and grief? Maybe growing up without excitement and adventure and travel is ok. We all wrote a paragraph together this week about living next to the church. It is my parting weekend gift to you. Go check out Jen!

We live next to the church. On Sundays we go and ate cookies and doghnuts. Living so close is convenient because our dad is the pastor. Many people come to visit is because of our close proximity*. We love living here as the Church of the Good Shepherd lies heavy upon us**.

*This was a collaborative effort with me insisting in the the word 'proximity'. I couldn't let it go which I now see is sort of ridiculous.
**This last sentence is all Gladys. I don't know. I know she's only five but sheesh.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

i'm so very umble

Here is the audio from my talk at IV way back whenever that was all those weeks ago. I think the audio is better than the straight text because I made a couple of jokes accidentally...well, maybe more than a couple. Anyway, there's nothing like dealing with the subject of humility for several weeks to come out feeling like you've been through a good old fashioned ringer washer. And on that note I'm going to go watch another episode of Dennis the Menace, which, weirdly, I and the kiddos can't get enough of. What A Terrible Child! And his mother comes out looking beautiful every time. Pip pip.

Monday, April 22, 2013

weekend haze

Yesterday was the Queen's birthday so Elphine made an Italian Apple Cake again. She had to double the recipe because of adding an awful lot of baking powder. Also Matt and I argued vehemently about how much sugar she should put in. This morning, as I lay wondering why anyone was up and what horror would arise should I open my eyes, Matt put my tea tray down next to me and said, 'Remember the Bert and Ernie about the salt? That's such an important lesson--the amount of sugar you prefer isn't the same as what everyone else does.'
On Friday, Marigold ripped out the only daffodils that had bloomed in my back garden. Was so annoyed with her. She sticks out her lower lip really far when she's done something terrible, like she's the one that's been hurt.
She puts on a huge big dress every day and says its her favorite. All of them, we guess, are her favorite.
On Sunday in the parish hall Marigold and Fatty Lumpkin gathered with their favorite baby friend to eat a lot of food and have a Little Girl's Party. This scene really only needs a large Paddington sitting in the cake to be perfect.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

on a saturday getting ready for sunday

Gladys wrote another poem last Sunday during Sunday School. At the very end she uses the word 'submitted' which we both struggled to find. She kept saying something like it and I didn't understand what she was trying say, so I offered up several words and she picked 'submitted'.

By Gladys

God saved his people.
He saved the people of Israel
and then he saved everyone
by dying on the cross.

And they were safe from all the trouble there was in the world.
So he took the bread and said,
'This is my body which is given to you.
Eat it for the remembrance of me.
This is my blood which is given to you.
Drink it for the remembrance of me.'

And after they had a good supper
they went out to a hill of Jerusalem
so they could pray.
And then when they got there
God's friends fell asleep.
Jesus said to them,
'Do not go to sleep. Pray with me.'

And then people took Jesus away and hung him on the cross with nails.
They flung a spear at his heart so blood and water flowed down.
They put a thorny crown on his head so his head would bleed.
So then they brought him down from the cross.
They put him in a tomb.

And the next day the ladies came and said,
'Who will roll away the stone?'
But when they got there the stone was already rolled away.
In the tomb they saw and angel who said,
'God is alive.
Go and tell his friends in the city of Jerusalem where they are waiting.'

Mary Magdalen saw Jesus in the garden.
She tried touching him.
She was crying and fell down on the grass.

On Easter he rose up from the dead because God raised him up.
He submitted himself to death and God raised him up.

Friday, April 19, 2013

7 quick takes, maybe

I'm sitting in front of the computer watching a live stream of local Boston news waiting for them all to find the second Boston bomber. The babies are crashing around shouting at each other. Everyone else is asleep, except Matt and Alouicious who are at Bible Study. The anchorette is trying to figure out what would happen to send these two young men over the edge to commit such a desperate act. Seemed like the man next to her wanted to gently tell her not to be stupid, but instead he changed the subject. He's probably married, sensible man.
We have watched coverage of this on and off all week and never once have any of the children asked how or why such a terrible thing could happen. Did read the long Auntie Leila post which was very good to tuck away and have on hand. So far there is no real confusion about evil in this house. We know that evil resides in all our own hearts, let alone other people's, and it takes the cross and Jesus to get rid of it. So none of us wonder how such terrible things could happen. But also, they all have the attention span of a flea.
Knowing that human beings are sinful is such a restful blessing, don't you think. There's never a reason to cry out to your child as she is sprinkling a whole gallon of sugar all over the kitchen and school room floor, and inside your slippers, 'Why are you doing that!?' Or 'What would possess you to touch the sugar when you've been told thirty times not to!?' Carrying around the idea of a good and righteous human person besides Jesus is too big a burden for me to lug around.
On the side of good, though, Fatty Lumpkin has taught her own self the use of the loo. No one wanted to cope with this idea right now, but she seems generally self directed, so there you are. That is my 'potty training' advice. Don't bother with it, it's too much trouble. Just have children who will eventually get fed up enough to figure it out on their own.
She is very pleased with herself. She is also trying to keep up with all the talking and language going on around here. She can say ' I don't want it!' and 'mine!' and 'Oh No!' and 'sorry' after sinking her sharp teeth into your upper fleshy arm. Marigold, on the other hand, is learning the glorious art of manipulation, 'I just want to be with you today, Mommy,' she said on Sunday, her eyes wide, her fake smile fixed. Yesterday she came in and announced 'Baby is pouring sugar on my own daddy's floor.' Then she said, 'Let's take my own dog for a walk now Mommy.'
I can't believe how the week got away from me. It was one of those spin around in a circle accomplishing nothing kinds of weeks. Are we supposed to go forward in a line towards something? I hope not.
Alouicious did turn nine last Sunday. He got his birthday prayer and sticker at church and then had lots of friends over after for pork and crepes and salad and then cake. It's hard to believe he's that old. I suppose by the end of the year he and Elphine will both be taller than me. Stupid children, growing up.
Have a great weekend and pray for Jen and her family!

Friday, April 12, 2013

my talk at IV this evening

It is so good to be with you this evening.
I am honored, may I even say, humbled, to have been asked.
Won't you join me first in prayer.
Oh Lord Christ, give us your grace, tonight, and yourself. Make us to see you, first, and then to know you, and then to be changed to be like you. Amen.
So, of course, the theme for tonight is Radical Humility, but my own title,or operating thesis is
Letting Yourself Go For A Taste of Glory.
I expect you've heard a lot of the word Radical over the past many months. I am not going to cope with this word much because I believe that the Christian Worldview, that is, the lens that God, through the Bible gives us to interpret and shape the world and our lives, is essentially radical. And it is so because of the word I do want to talk about, and that is Humility. This might strike you as a Bad word. Certainly, anyone who has been a Christian for fifteen minutes or more knows that he ought never to pray for humility because God will surely take him up on that request. So, what is Humility, first, and then how might we understand how it, as a virtue, or an idea, could change us, and certainly the world.
The word Humility comes into English from Latin where it meant 'of the earth'. We might use the word 'grounded' in a similar way, or the expression, 'down to earth'. The classic Christian definition of Humility is that such a person correctly understands his or her real situation
before God and others. A humble person neither thinks too highly nor too lowly of him or herself but has a right understanding of who he is, of what she is worth. A grounded person, we might, say, not flighty nor arrogant nor down on the self all the time. But this definition is surface and cursory. The virtue, the good personal quality of Humility is actually at the very heart of the Christian life and that it is because it is something profound and real inside of God.
So we will go there in circles, closer and closer in, and in.
When I came to America from Africa for a short six months when I was sixteen, I ran into a kind of thinking that really shocked me. This is probably going to sound judgemental but please, don’t judge me. One of the very basic central qualities of being an American, as far as I could make out,
is that Americans are equal with one another, and in that equality, guaranteed certain rights, certain qualities of life that are grounded in being alive, in being a human person. We hear a lot about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but in my six month American sojourn, I learned that there were a lot of others--
the right to be talked to a certain way,
the right to make a certain amount of money,
the right to properly packaged food in the store,
the right not to be cut off on the road,
the right to respect and dignity,
the right to the latest kind of shoes or hairdo or jeans,
the right not to be dissed,
the right of students not to be given too much work by their teachers,
the right of teachers not to be hassled by their students.
In church I discovered the right of some to a particular pew,
the right of the usher to stand in a particular place,
the right of teenagers in the youth group
not to have to put up with each other's stupidity (that's a nice word for it).
These are all inalienable rights. I was shocked by this because I had just come from a place where easily accessible clean water was by no means a right, but a hope, in some cases a privilege, a desire, and, when gained, a source of real gratitude. Before you cry out that clean water is a right for every human person, I want to bring in the question of God, which will lead us to the question of you, of the potential Christian. My hope is that you will feel a dissonance between where you feel you ought to be, or rather, who you ought to be, and where or who you actually are.
So I hope the lovely person who knows all about technology can flash up a passage from the Bible.
How many here have read the Bible? All of it or some portion?
This great book, the Bible, brings us very close to the character and nature of God--who he is, what kinds of things he has done, what relationship he has with creation and with us. This text here, is from Philippians chapter two. Paul, a follower of Jesus, was in prison when he wrote this. He had traveled around the Roman Empire and spread the news about Jesus, which we will get to in a moment, and as a result of this work, he had been taken and put under house arrest, waiting for a proper trial. This is a letter he wrote to one of the churches he had started in the city of Philippi. He was worried about this church, and the other churches he had started. He wanted to be with them to teach them more about Jesus but he couldn't be there. He longed for news. He prayed for them all the time. He was stressed out. And so he wrote this letter. In the opening greeting he calls himself a Servant of Jesus Christ. The Greek word is better rendered Slave. Someone who doesn't even own himself, but who is completely subject, in this case, to Jesus. Paul is anxious and worried for the Philippians because, on the one hand, they aren't getting on with each other. Their relationships are stressed and troublesome. Some women are bickering all over the town and pulling everyone in to the argument. They aren't functioning together. And, on the other hand, they are being hassled and persecuted for believing in and following Jesus, for being identified with Jesus, as Christians. Some have probably been killed, others have been imprisoned or tortured. This group of people, the church, is struggling internally and being persecuted externally.

Paul has a solution for them. It's not going to be the solution we might have. We might say, who makes a better argument? Or, let’s bring in a mediator. Maybe we can come together to resolve our differences. Let’s have a program to help everyone deal with their interpersonal relationships.
And for persecution, maybe the Philippian church should sue, or get together a human rights commission to cope with this grave injustice. Obviously, death is a violation of human rights. No, first Paul comforts them.
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love,
any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy,
The 'if' might better be rendered 'since',
since there is encouragement in Christ,
since there is comfort from the Love of Christ,
since you have participation with Christ in the Spirit,
since you have affection and sympathy,
You have all these things if you know and love Jesus, you have encouragement, comfort, love, the Spirit, affection and sympathy. You may not feel it, but if you are in Christ, you have these things
therefore, Paul writes,
complete my joy by being jof the same mind,
having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
Be all on the same page with each other.
Having the same love,
the same accord,
the same mind--
not picking one person from amongst you and getting behind that person,
but rather having the love of Christ and all having it,
having his mind, his world view, and all having it. This will complete Paul's joy. It will make him deeply and totally happy. And then, being all on the same page together, the page of Christ, then we can
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Conceit might be rendered 'vain glory' or 'empty glory'. Let me just pause and say that every time I read this, it sounds ridiculous to me. Do nothing from selfish ambition. Nothing at all. Count others more significant than yourselves. Okay. Sure.
Except that I’m the center of the universe. So my thought life, my actions, my vision for life, my world view... how many times have I said ‘my’? Who could possibly be more significant than me? And yet Paul says blithely, like its no big deal, Don't act selfishly.
Don't grab and take what you want from the candy bowl of life.
Don't do stuff to make yourself feel awesome
don’t keep working on having 'good self esteem',
don't wake up in the morning and think,
what do I need to do to make myself happy, satisfied and successful today, but
In Humility, in a grounded and real way, Count others as more significant than yourselves.
Not that you look at yourself and then at other people and beat yourself into a pulp of inadequacy
because a low opinion of yourself still counts as pride. You’re still thinking about yourself. You’re still at the center. Its still love. It may be sick, twisted dysfunctional love, but that’s what it is.

Still, its a great burden, isn’t it?
Whether you loathe yourself or are pretty satisfied, it’s still all you all the time, lugging your ego around, sheltering it from harm and trial and despair.

Instead of that, says Paul, count others and their needs more highly, see that their needs as surpassing yours. I’m supposed to have learned this, I’m pretty sure, through having a lot of children. I wake up every morning not only with a lot of my own need, but a to do list the size of that black board, and then the needs of a lot of little children insert themselves upon me to be more important than my own. Paul goes on,
Let each of you look not only to his own interests,
but also to the interests of others.
He's not inviting you to be a busybody, to 'be up on all the news', but that if someone needs something you set yourself aside and attend to that person. Not to make yourself feel good, to build yourself up but because its not even about you at all. This is impossible.
It is.
I've tried and I can confidently say that this manner of life is not only hard but virtually impossible. We are By Nature oriented towards ourselves. We are the center of our own worlds, our own world views, or own moral systems. To get out of that and live another way is impossible for you. But it is not impossible for God and that is who Paul is going to describe now.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God,
Form means here, in Greek, the full essence and nature of God, in other words, who Christ Jesus, who is God,
did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
The Greek for 'grasped' might also be rendered 'seized'. Not just sort of grasping on to something, but seizing it, taking it forcefully. Paul is painting a brush form of two men,
Jesus, who did not grasp at equality, which, being God, was certainly his right, and Adam, our ancient ancestor who reached out and seized the fruit in the garden, the fruit that was supposed to make him Like God, Equal with God.

We are all spiritually in the likeness or form or Adam, reaching out to take what we can get-- like Black Friday shoppers of the soul, we rush in and crush each other to seize the latest item from the shelf, taking love or respect or credit or whatever it is we think we need.

The opposite of this is Jesus who did not grab anything
but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,
being born in the likeness of men.
He was in the form, he was God, but he took on the form of a servant, or slave, doulos.
He was born in our likeness. We are made in the likeness of God, now he is born in our likeness, a man. And what kind of man? A servant, a slave, someone who is subject, who is lowly, who is abased, who is of the dust.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
By the time of the writing of this letter, the cross was still an image of utter shame, of humiliation.
I have a lovely latticed cross hanging in my school room that Matt carved for me. It stands for me as a symbol of love, of hope, of forgiveness. On the two cross beams, while I was yet thrashing around grabbing what I need, taking what I can get, shoving people out of the way for my rights,
this person, Jesus, who did not take what he was owed, who put aside the glory and honor of being God, and came to earth who was born, which, let’s not cast a glow of beauty and wonder over that, the business of being born is humiliating--both for the mother, I'll just speak for myself, and certainly for the baby, naked, helpless.

This person, God,came into total poverty, born not at Wilson Hospital with a phalanx of knowledgeable medical staff, but on the floor of an animal holding pen to a humiliated and despised teenage mother. And from his birth he went on to travel with a group of outcasts and potential trouble makers.

If you had the whole world in your hands, would you solve all the world's problems this way?
This humiliating beginning and life culminating with the greatest shame a human could suffer in the first century in the roman world. Jesus was wrongfully accused of blasphemy and sedition, he was illegally and unjustly tried, he was flogged, a torture which killed some, and was finally nailed and hung up high on two pieces of wood and left to die. He did this, Paul says, obediently. God the Father asked him to do it and and he did. Willingly.

I gaze up at my lattice cross sometimes while I am screaming at my children or whining to myself about Binghamton's foul foul weather. My life is such a trial. As I struggle under the burden of myself, because that is what we're talking about, the self--myself, yourself--we labor to hold ourselves together, to be successful, to do our duty, to love and be loved--Jesus came to take that burden away, to bear it for us. He counted our need as surpassing his own glory. He came to lift it up and carry it away.

Paul is asking that we then, who have had the great burden of self lifted up and healed and loved,
that we do this for one another. We count the other’s needs as greater, as surpassing, and that we lay aside ourselves first for Christ, then for each other. But this vision is not interminable suffering, humiliation and then death on the cross. No, because of what Jesus did,
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus didn't die and stay dead. He died and destroyed death. After being dead a couple of days, Jesus, man, and God, in one person, was too big for death to hold on to. Death itself broke apart
and Jesus walked out of the grave and showed himself to his friends and eventually went back to be with the Father. He is in glory. He is highly exalted. And if you are in him, if you have let all the burden of yourself fall away and took hold and grasped him, then you live in his glory. The heaven where he lives is alive in you. You aren't laboring on alone, you really do have the comfort of Christ, the encouragement of Christ, the love of Christ, the mind of Christ, the surpassing glory of Christ to cover over you and satisfy you. So now, after this work of Christ, whereas before you could not count a single other living person as more important than you, now your glory is Christ
and you can seriously care for others along the way.

You can see that followers of Jesus who carry in their minds and hearts the virtue of humility are no wilting irritating obsequious boring wall flowers who do everything that everyone tells them to. Humility is the nature of God, loving us. Humility is God giving up his glory to come and rescue us from sin and from death. Humility is who God is. He wanted you so much that he was willing to lay aside everything to give you life.

You might see why Christians getting snappy with each other, or not caring for one another is so loathsome. Why those of you who profess to love Jesus, but have not totally let go of yourself, of your plans, the habits of your mind, the attitudes of your heart, need tonight to say a sorry to Jesus and turn around and go back to him.

For those of you who are hearing of Jesus for the first time or in a new way, I said at the beginning that I wanted to talk about letting go of yourself for a taste of glory. In giving your life to Jesus, it is not into the hand of someone who is thinking only of himself. When you give yourself to Jesus, it is to a person who has demonstrated, by the payment of his own life, that he loves you, and that he has the power to care for you. Not only so, but the power of his care and love is covered over with his surpassing and inexhaustible glory.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

very very busy etc.

I'm studiously avoiding writing here because I'm supposed to be speaking at InterVarsity this Friday evening and all my mental space is taken up trying to put all those words together. I'm not clever enough to write in two kinds of ways at the same time. But I would love it if you'd pray for me--that I could say something interesting and sensible. And even more, go pray for Jen at Conversion Diary. She must be so exhausted and now stressed to have her baby in a different hospital from her. See you after Friday!

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

he lives, we seem to still be living

It is April, as some of you might have noticed, and I am sitting in my bed covered by two large quilts and holding a warm mug against my mouth waiting for it, my mouth, to slowly thaw, or whatever the word is. There are stupid ugly snow flakes dithering their way down out of the ugly gray sky. (I like to keep track of the weather, for future reference, so when my children look back at this moment they will know exactly what kind of day it was. That Kind of Day.)

Earlier this morning, having dressed myself up in red striped socks, soft comfortable jeans, a thick sweater and the armor of anxiety, I presented myself precisely at 9:50 to the fancy and expensive specislist dentist at the top of that hill in Binghamton with the expansive view and capacious cemetery. There, for two hours, I fixed my internal eye on Jesus and survived my first, and it seems, probably not last, root canal.

Knowing that I have a surprising ability to gag and more than a goodly share of anxiety, my own new regular dentist had called ahead for a large tank of nitrous, or, as they so funnily call it, 'laughing gas'. I lay back and breathed heavily waiting for all my troubles to melt away. Well, after a few minutes, I did feel very drunk, a sensation I not only do not approve of but also do not enjoy (not, of course, that I would know) but there was no melting away of anything. The hysterical woman on CNN persisted through any sense of relaxation (it must be hard, keeping the hysteria alive, hour after hour, in this case about Michael Jackson--really?--and some poor basketball coach who said something unpardonable which they wouldn't say on TV), and then the various injections killed the rest of it off after that. As they lowered my head towards the floor and started chipping and whacking away, the grief of the suffering of the cross--that our Lord lay and died, that his friends were similarly tortured--wafted over me more powerfully than any so called 'laughing gas' and I eventually gave myself up to sorrow and pain and lay there crying.

'Are you ok?' The begloved and persistent nurse kept asking, 'Are you ok?'. Oh sure, I'm fine, I thought, nodding cheerfully, I feel like I'm drowning and choking and definitely dying, but otherwise fine. When she wasn't asking how I was, she was telling me to swallow, something I couldn't manage to properly do.

So to all the people who told me this week that they fell asleep during their root canals....well, I
I don't really have anything to say. Please don't try to commiserate with me about it or I might say something unbecoming of my station and situation in life.

As I write this the children are eating vats of candy and fighting over some Xbox game. Elphine is baking an Italian apple cake. She has only broken one tea cup saucer and received one slight burn in the process of making everyone fried eggs for lunch. I didn't want her to make fried eggs, but she took advantage of my emotional weakness to bash me into letting her have a try. So also with the baking of a complicated cake. For some reason, the baby is stark naked and covered with chocolate. I dressed her twice before I went away this morning.

Here they all are in their Easter Finery.

Here is Strawberry Jello concocted by Alouicious for Easter Dinner. None of us had made jello before, let alone in any kind of mold, so we were all impressed.

And here is Plum Pie, by Elphine, not in the sun, obviously, because there hasn't been any sun for weeks, but it was for everyone.

And Eggs, ready to be hidden.

Everyone ready to hunt eggs. No pictures of them hunting because no one held still for even one second.

Marigold, hopped up on sugar.

And here is The Table, before the children had a go at it.

Flowers of the altar made their way home with us. Thank you Altar Guild!

So, here we are, lying back in a house awash in Easter Bunny grass (stupid Easter Bunny), a couple of baseball practices to force us out of bed, teeth perhaps on the mend, a few hundred piles of clothes to wash, waiting for Elphine's cake to be a triumph. Another season of penitence gives way to joy, exhaustion into rest, snow into...oh never mind.