Easter Week and Decorating the Graves

What does Easter mean to you? For Christians it is the most important time of the year. We follow Christ through Palm Sunday – singing Hosannas – -and into the week where he was accused, betrayed, and faced his own dark moments of the soul.

Maundy Thursday and Black Friday aren’t shopping events, but deeply reflective days of Christ’s suffering. The Maundy Thursday service has always made me feel closest to him – when he seemed the most human. It marks the last supper with his disciples and may be known to you as Holy Thursday or Covenant Thursday. We have always taken communion during this service when the words: “take, eat, this is my body” has special meaning.

Of course this is all the big lead up for his final miracle – rising from the dead. “Up From The Grave He Arose” the song says – and it will forever be imprinted on me as the Easter morning song. Just as “I come to the Garden alone, while the dew is still on the Roses”, will be what I associate with my maternal Grandmother; the 23rd Psalms with my paternal Grandmother.

Sunrise services are usually held in the cemetery, and two of these cemeteries hold plots of my family members where their remains lie beneath manicured lawns and engraved granite. It is only right that lillies, hyacinths, roses, tulips, and other assorted filler flowers whose names I may not know, will be there at their graves. I suppose I am giving them honor as I remember them so fondly, and honoring that they too have arisen.

At one church, I put flowers in the vases of my paternal grandparents and my aunt. At another I put saddle wreaths on top of the stone markers for my father and my maternal grandparents. It is a ritual for me, like waving the palms on Palm Sunday. Some people say that this is a waste of money – that they are not there. Of course they are not there, but I am. I can do this one small act that says they are not forgotten, that adds beauty to the cold grey stones in an otherwise gloomy piece of land, and that will add cheer to the celebration that is – A Risen Christ.

I don’t normally write about religion – even though this is mostly about a Christian event. I have felt the surge of spirituality and a connection to a higher power in many places. And Christians are infamous for splitting up into sub groups: Catholics, Protestants, Mormons, Fundamentalists. Luckily, I was raised with a broader respect for all faiths. My grandfather always said we had more in common than we had in disagreement. He often underlined quotes in various religious texts and compared them to other Bible quotes. He must have had much wisdom. My paternal grandmother had great respect for the Native Americans and their connection to The Great Spirit.

Isn’t that what we all are – a great spirit divided into smaller bodies that house a portion of it? And isn’t that what we celebrate at Easter? If Christ’s body was meant to be sacrificed for us, doesn’t that symbolize that we are also part of him – through consciousness, spirit, love? And isn’t that what we are trying to commemorate with baskets of flowers placed at loved ones graves?

Enjoy Easter week and place a flower on someone’s grave who meant something to you.

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  1. Renee, I can’t thank you enough for writing this post. Easter is a very emotional time for me and this piece is a mirror of what Easter has always been for me. Maundy Thursday has always been the day I connected with as well. Most of the people in my life aren’t even aware that there is such a day. You warmed my heart with your memories of some of my favourite hymns and verses. With our various moves over the past few years I confess that I have lost a connection to a place of worship and I miss it a great deal. I will be reading your piece again on Easter Sunday as it truly warmed my heart. Bless you.

    1. Thank you, Michelle. I’m happy knowing something I’ve shared has meaning for you, and delighted that you too appreciate Maundy Thursday services. I wish you and your family a very Happy Easter and beautiful spring season.

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