Bryan playing “Christ the Lord is Risen today”
Last Easter you may remember Bryan crafting his own Eastertide service which he shared via video with Rev. Tim Craven of Lancaster County. This year he celebrated with us in a different way.
Mom and dad have been singing with an Episcopalian church choir throughout the pandemic, recording service music to be shared in online worship. This has morphed into singing live at long last. Bryan came with us to two Holy Week services last week – the Easter Vigil and Easter morning worship.
It was a new experience for us all. Bryan sat in the pew with family friends following an order of worship he’d never seen before and navigating among bulletin, hymnal and Book of Common Prayer. Part of the the service calls for the ringing of bells during the “Gloria”, signifying Christ’s resurrection. Bryan rang his little cowbell lustily as he turned around in the pew, searching for his parents in the balcony who joined him in the bell ringing.
As worship progressed and we came downstairs to join the rest of the congregation, Bryan watched us carefully as we processed, sang anthems and chants, and shared in the Eucharist. He was the first in the congregation to approach the communion rail to partake in the first live communion in two years. I was nervous watching him come to the front of the church, but he somehow knew just what to do. He even “reverenced the cross”, bowing before it as he partook of the elements. I guess he was carefully watching other parishioners and knew that this was an appropriate action in the Anglican church. After the Vigil was over, he eagerly consumed the delicious savories and sweets laid out in the Fellowship Hall…an added perk to Saturday night church! As we left the hall, he began walking to the car with a stilted, awkward gait. I was concerned with what had happened to him between the church and the car. “Buddy, what’s wrong?”, I asked with worry. I came to find out he was walking like Bernie from “Weekend at Bernie’s” – like a zombie being drug around by two friends. Was this his idea of a “dead” joke? Pretty sick humor, but funny nonetheless!
On Easter morning, Bryan was equally as engaged in worship, doing things the “Episcopalian way” by his power of observation. Again he communed and navigated through the complex service, crossing himself in the proper way during worship, which I have yet to learn. After worship he managed to snag a lovely wreath of flowers which were being shared with the congregation, having adorned the candleholders on the ends of the pews. He gave it to me and said that now I had a centerpiece for our Easter family table. The arrangement which I had planned on using Easter Day had perished in the eighty degree heat the week before and I had nothing to use. God will provide! And Bryan was his vehicle.
After the family had gathered around our dining room table, beautiful centerpiece now in place, we said grace and hungrily ate the lamb, potatoes, asparagus and carrot meal. As we sat, stuffed to the gills, Bryan went into the living room and began to play the piano. All conversation stopped to listen. Usually the songs take a while to figure out when he plays. But this melody rang out loud and clear “Christ the Lord is Risen Today”. I didn’t know he knew this piece!
Apparently, Bryan had thought enough to ask his piano teacher to work with him in advance on learning this song so that he could play it on Easter Day for his family. It was readily recognizable and played from the heart. Bryan’s sacrificial act of worship once again!