sweet woodruff in the garden
Yesterday, on Easter morn, we did not go to church.

Several years ago, I left the church where I was raised–driven out by disgust over sex scandals and hypocrisy. My faith in God was fully intact but my faith in the institution had crumbled. I needed a new home. After years of searching, I think we are settling in somewhere. But as lovely as that Quaker community is, we are slow to settle and have still not become regulars. Max hasn’t officially joined the Sunday school. At the end of Meeting for Worship, when it is time for visitors to stand and introduce themselves, there are always a few who look our way. We are settling in but we are still not home.

And it was with that in mind that I chose not to go to church. I remember how growing up, the priest used to admonish the casual visitors on Easter Sunday and Christmas. How the casual visitors, while theoretically welcomed, also annoyed the regulars by clogging up the parking lot and taking all the seats. The big parties of Easter and Christmas I have always thought are special times, community times and until I can become a regular, I will take a pass from the big events.

But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t go to worship.

No, Easter morning found me in my garden, attending to the miracle of resurrection playing out in my own yard. It doesn’t matter how many years I do it, each time I roll the stones and dead leaves away I am delighted and in awe to find that where once were only dead dried stalks stood, fiddleheads were raising their miraculous heads to the sun. Where there were once just withering vines, sweet woodruff was peaking up through.

Resurrection is a drama that plays out every spring, each time equally miraculous. It is the most magical and wonderous experience to see. In the fall we grieve the leaves, we let go of all that was life sustaining. The winter is cold. We witness the light die. We slow down. Buried in feet of snow, surrounded by howling winds we wonder if life will ever return. But it does. It always does. It is God’s promise to us. And yet, it requires faith beyond measure.

So instead of singing my Alleluias from a pew, I dug into the earth. Attended by Max and Kuro the wonder dog, altar boys of the garden, we raised our voices in joy, of discovering new life returning. Each hyacith, and hosta, and iris leaf wothy of an amen.

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