Last night Marie asked me if we were celebrating Easter today (Western Easter) or next week (Eastern/Orthodox Easter). When I just kind of stared at her, she then asked if we'd thought about it at all, or just forgotten. Actually, Jörn and I did talk about it briefly, so hadn't entirely forgotten, but I was kind of wanting to go to the service at the Anglican church at 9:30, which is somewhat early for our family. So...we more or less decided to celebrate next week, instead. (Our celebration consisting mainly of breakfast together, the only morning of the year that we do that.) Marie was relieved, as that meant that she didn't need to get up until 9:00. (The church she attends starts at 10:00 and the one Jörn, the boys, and Katie attend starts whenever, Jörn usually heading out around 10:30, so it wasn't a big deal for Jörn to agree to stay home until I got back at 10:45, so that I didn't have to take the little ones.)
So...as I spent most of the night coughing and didn't sleep much, I got up earlier than usual and was actually ready to go in plenty of time and was playing (with) the piano at 9:00 when Marie appeared with a frantic look on her face. She'd forgotten that she needed to be at church at 9:15, not 10:00, to practice a skit that the youth were performing. It was kind of cool to be able to say so calmly no worries, I was happy to drive her. She got ready in record time and I dropped her off at LCC and got to St Helena's in time to look at the book table and buy a book before going inside.
I could have done without the greeting from the greeter, who patted my stomach (yes, literally touched it--so much for the reserved English!!) and said something sweet about it being nice to see young people expecting. I suppose I should have just happily accepted the adjective "young", considering that I'm 41 and have three grey hairs, but I mumbled something like, "Um, no, I'm not pregnant." She didn't miss a beat, just responded, "Well, then I hope for you that you will be." I should have left that well enough alone as well, but didn't, saying, "No, I don't think so, I do have six already." (Like whether we have any more children or not is hers or anyone else's business!!! It's NOT!!!!!) I have to give it to her for composure--she just said, "Six? That's wonderful--God bless you!" I finally got my hymnal and service sheet handed to me and escaped.
It didn't help much that as I was squeezing into my skirt this morning, Elisabeth (Elisabeth! She is not quite 22 months old!) watched me skeptically and said, "No, Mommy. Too small." In my opinion, it fits fine once it's on, but obviously, my opinion is wrong.
Anyway, I was pleased not to cough too terribly much during the service and it was good to take communion, the one thing that I've been missing with not going to church much over the last 15 months. Because of my cold, I didn't drink from the wine chalice though, just dipped my wafer in it. I discovered that wafers don't soak up much. (We always had whole-wheat bread, made by my mother, in the church where I grew up. It soaks up a lot more!) The very best part of the service, though, was hugging Sue during the passing of the peace (or whatever they call it there).
The first song was one that I knew but apparently nobody else did with the tune that the lady running the digital hymnal had chosen, because after the first verse the vicar suggested we sing it without accompaniment, and the tune that everyone then sang was one I didn't know! There were four or five songs, of which I knew two pretty well and enjoyed, even though I couldn't sing much with my cold. One of them I only knew the first verse, so after the service quickly scribbled down the other three verses. (We only sang the second verse as it was, which I thought was a pity.)
However, we didn't sing "Christ the Lord is Risen Today", so as soon as I got home, I looked that up in the Baptist hymnal. (I prefer Mission Praise, which mostly has easier arrangements, but Jacob had taken it with him to the house church.) I played that and a few more, appreciating that the Baptist hymnal has the songs by topic (Mission Praise is strictly alphabetical), and then discovered that the one I'd copied down is in there--I'd had no idea! So I played through that a few times and then took the words with me into the girls' room, where I spent about half an hour picking things up and throwing things away. (For the last several months, I've worked on their room most Sunday mornings, but I've either been to church or been sick for the last several weeks, so hadn't done anything for awhile, meaning it looked rather as though nobody had EVER tried to do anything with it...) Helen and Elisabeth are now singing the chorus with me and some of the verses. :-)
Then the three of us had lunch and afterwards I turned the computer on while nursing Elisabeth. No photos (not that there's really anything I would have photographed today, I guess) because I can't find the camera...hopefully we'll find that by next Sunday and I'll at least take a photo of the table set for breakfast, with braided bread (three parts, symbolizing the Trinity) and colored eggs (symbolizing nothing other than Tradition, really...) and probably pretty napkins. Last year Eastern and Western Easters were the same day, and I don't remember what we did the two years before that. The various Protestant churches here do different things, some celebrating one and some the other, some both, and some neither! Grace Church will be celebrating next week, as well as having a shared meal, so I might go there next week with the two little girls.