Easter Celebration Decades Ago
A few decades ago I was serving as the Assistant Pastor at Memorial Baptist Church in Cortland, NY. A few Sundays before Easter pastor Roger and I were sitting up on the platform waiting for worship to begin. Roger leaned over, “Dan, what are you and your family doing for Easter dinner?” As the music played Roger and I made plans for our families to join together to celebrate Easter dinner together.
Easter Sunday came and following worship our families gathered for dinner in one of the finest Chinese restaurants Cortland had to offer. We had the whole place to ourselves. There might have been one or two other couples there, but it was clear we were the only people there to celebrate Easter.
Nancy and I were new in ministry. Over dinner Roger shared some of the realities of ministry life. “Christmas and Easter are demanding times and often leave little room for traveling to be with family.” Roger shared the importance of learning how to balance ministry and family time. We had an enjoyable meal together.
During the ride home I listened to Nancy’s rebuttal to Roger’s outlook on life. Nancy comes from a large family where holiday dinner celebrations are important and very significant. Easter dinner is defined by ham, greens, potatoes, banana pudding and so much more. Nancy has worked extremely hard over the years to make sure that no matter how busy our family may be around the holidays we take time for a special meal together. She has often spent hours at church only to come home and spend hours more preparing a “traditional” holiday meal.
As the children have gotten older some of that pressure has relaxed. Today was a milestone day for our family. We were transported back to that first Easter dinner with Roger and his family as we went out for Chinese! Mom and Dad joined Rayann, Nancy and myself for a great family meal prepared and cleaned up by someone else. We had a great time and got to share just a little bit more of life together.
Roger’s early wisdom was important to hear. It helped our young family decide how we were going to balance ministry and family. Nancy’s commitment to holiday dinners made for some very special memories. As we relaxed around the table today it was nice to enjoy a meal without the added pressure of having the perfect “Normal Rockwell” experience. The ribs were amazing. 🙂