He has risen, indeed! -- Pastor and the congregation all said that together at this morning's sunrise service for Easter. The sanctuary was adorned with flowers. The promised-for-today-sun did not shine, but no matter. Pastor, in his white robe with a gold vestment, embodied JOY enough to fill that room with sunshine. We were given balloons as we entered and at one specific point in the service, we all let them go, rising to the ceiling.
Today was not just Easter, though. It was also the day of my Holy Baptism into the Lutheran faith. I don't usually have stage fright, but I found myself unable to look out at the audience while standing up there. I stared, in a haze of excitement and anticipation, at Pastor. He called me forth over the Baptismal stand. He prayed and poured the water out of the glistening, silver pitcher into the metal basin. I will always remember how the sound of the water hitting the basin amplified in my ears. Trickle, trickle, trickle.
And then I bent over the bowl and felt Pastor's warm hand on the back of my head and his other hand scoop up water
in the name of the Father
and the Holy Spirit
and poured it over my forehead.
Husband's hand pressed softly on my other shoulder from behind me and I felt power surge through me.
When Pastor asked the congregation if they would support me and pray for me in my new lifein Christ, I finally looked out and saw a sea of love, people whose hearts were open. My eyes were filling with tears and I even noticed one or two people wiping their eyes. For me! They were crying-joy-happy for me!
And at the end, when Pastor made the sign of the cross on my forehead, I knew I was then marked, branded to the Most High, a child of God, lovingly and oh-so-willing to serve the Lord the rest of my days.
Please rise and welcome Lisa into the family of faith, Pastor said.
We welcome you into the Lord's family. We receive you as a fellow member of the body of Christ, child of the same heavenly father, and a worker with us in the Kingdom of God, said the congregation.
Let us welcome the newly baptized!
And the sending:
Take the good news with you: Christ is alive. He is risen.
Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
Thanks be to Christ.
As I hear all over the radio, internet, and church language: He Has Risen, Indeed!