We had a wonderful Easter Vigil last night. I won’t go into detail because (a) of course, I have to get to Easter service; this is the drawback to doing a late-night Vigil, and (b) I know. I know most of you aren’t interested. You’re being pretty polite about it. I just felt like putting a button on this blog thing.
I’ll just say that this was fascinating from just a social anthropology point of view. It’s a poor sampling; we don’t just self-select by being the kind of person who does this kind of thing, but we weren’t particularly diverse as a group. Although it had a nice intergenerational aspect, and a really nice turn-out (maybe close to 40 people, huge for a Vigil).
But it was what we did. We reviewed the history of humanity through some of our oldest myths and stories, and we did it orally. We gathered around a fire at the beginning, even. And then for a couple of hours we told stories about domes of the earth and sky and winged creatures of every kind, about floods that cleansed and promises in the sky, about trust and hope and sin and redemption. Something for everyone.
I’ve never been to a Seder, although I think I understand the concept well enough to again make the comment that this is sort of the Christian version. It’s really not, but in terms of purpose and practice? We ask and we explain. We read old texts, often laced with humor (the guy who handled the binding of Isaac told it in costume and in first person, and when he got to the point about pulling out his knife in order to murder his son at the command of God, he acknowledged the difficulty. “That was a tough one,” he sighed, sort of, or that was the general effect.
I wish I could have brought all of you; you would get it. It’s just one of those things that don’t really happen in the modern world. We go through certain traditions that involve ritual, mostly around social conventions (marriages and birthdays, just two examples), but we don’t examine ourselves and our ties to the past. Our ties to other human beings, alive and long gone.
And personally, my Valley of the Dry Bones/Be Our Guest thing was entertaining, apparently (I have a couple of audio recordings, but I haven’t really listened for quality yet; and some things are best observed live, when you’re more forgiving). I ended up using Julie’s iPad for the text, because—as we both noted, as we both note about a lot of things, a lot—it’s so much easier for aging eyes.
This is the iPad Pro John and I bought her last Christmas, an obscenely expensive piece of technology that now makes perfect sense. It’s why all of my son-in-law’s band members use them; they’re the best thing for musicians since the invention of I don’t know what. All of your scores, your music, right there on this huge screen with the processing power of a very nice laptop.
I obviously don’t need one of these. I’ll always be more comfortable sitting at a desk in front of a standard keyboard, tapping away.
But for my other computing stuff, aside from video editing (which isn’t out of the question), I’d definitely use one of these as my primary device. I had a little problem scrolling, just because I was reading and singing at the same time, and during a couple of moments I actually closed the file, which is tricky when the piano keeps going. I managed fine. A little girl seemed to really enjoy it. We’re all good here.
Happy Easter. Happy Passover. Happy spring, happy us. It’s hard, it is. Life is weird and sometimes horrifying these days, and even this particular day. You think I don’t look at strangers who wander in to our services, mostly young white men who come alone, and introduce myself while I look for suspicious bulges that could be automatic weapons? That’s pretty sick. I still do it a lot.
But we laughed, some of us, and talked and read and sang, and eventually pigged out and laughed about all the sugar. There’s never enough sugar, if you ask me, not in this world, not in this life.
Off to sing, celebrate, and then probably sleep. Be kind to someone today. It makes the sun shine.