Even though I didn’t preach on Easter Sunday this year, Holy Week was wonderful for me. On Thursday night our new church had a beautiful and well-attended Agape Feast; on Friday I drove to downtown Minneapolis and attended a beautiful (in a Good Friday way) Tenebrae service at Westminster Presbyterian Church. Then yesterday I decided at the last minute to attend Mass with my family at Pax Christi Catholic Church in Rochester. I went there instead of going to a Presbyterian Church.
We went to 9:00 a.m. Mass. The place was packed—it wouldn’t surprise me if 700 people attended. We weren’t able to park in the parking lot, but did find a place on a grass field a long ways from the entrance to the church. When we walked into the narthex people were already sitting there as the sanctuary was full. I asked the usher if there were any seats in the sanctuary. He said there were some seats in the front if we wanted to sit there. I love to sit there, so we enjoyed a front row seat.
The music and singing was just superb. We began worship by singing the familiar Easter hymn “Jesus Christ is Risen Today.” The moment was beautiful. Everyone in the choir was singing with passion, most of them had a smile on their face, I was singing my lungs out too. The words of the hymn are so familiar to me that I felt like I was praying. As I was singing/praying I thought about John Calvin’s thought that during worship and in particular as we celebrate Communion, the Holy Spirit leads us to receive a glimpse of heaven. I felt at that moment that I received a glimpse of heaven. How do I know? I don’t—I accept it on faith.
How ironic that John Calvin's thought came to me as I was singing my lungs out at a Catholic church.
Last week I wrote in a blog that I was praying that we would be different people because of our celebration of Holy Week. I feel different today because of this glimpse of heaven that I received.
In his Easter message yesterday, Pope Benedict said,
“since the dawn of Easter a new Spring of hope has filled the world; from that day forward our resurrection has begun, because Easter does not simply signal a moment in history, but the beginning of a new condition: Jesus is risen not because his memory remains alive in the hearts of his disciples, but because he himself lives in us, and in him we can already savor the joy of eternal life."
Yesterday this Presbyterian savored the joy of eternal life with my Catholic friends.