Saturday, March 26, 2016

Holy Saturday 2016

8:00 a.m. start time

About 30 volunteers making cards

Making 1,200 Easter cards, one for each meal being sent to five local shelters

After a few years of this, I've got a system down!

Station 1 is for gluing only.

Station 2 is for application of religious Easter stickers.

Station 3 is for hand writing a nice sentiment, like "Happy Easter!" or "God loves you!"

My back is the station for any wee football fans who are just along for the ride.

Even children 2- and 3-years-old were gluing cards and placing stickers. Margaret, a newly minted 5-year-old, was writing her own cards.

I found Mary gently including sweet L----, whom I think is three years old, by writing out the words in a dashed line so that L--- could trace them.

L--- said in the most adoring, soft voice, "I just love writing with you."

This service project gives me deep meditation and touches my heart. As Chris and I explained to the children: these people who are homeless or have ruined lives weren't always this way. They grew up in families, they were little Johns and Marys, little Margarets and Josephs--with homes and mommies and daddies. Somewhere along the way, maybe the adults in their lives made terrible decisions, or maybe these folks grew up and got sick (in mind or body), or maybe they themselves made terrible, immoral decisions that made them lose everything they have. Now it's Easter, they're alone, they're without creature comforts, and they're certainly without darling children or grandchildren showering them with scribbled notes and pictures like I receive in abundance daily. As the organizer of the project, I, personally, find it important to make sure each card has a handwritten note on it to show that personal touch that I would want to receive if I were down-and-out.

After all children's hard work, and we finished in two-and-a-half hours, the children got to play football and play on the playground, before our family had a parking lot picnic. Then it was off to the Blessing of Easter Baskets by the priest.

It is truly a feast for the eyes to see all the baskets that are brought. One woman braided bread and baked it into the shape of a basket and then filled it! There is hand made sausage, hand made breads, lamb-shaped butter, pussy willows, palms folded into crosses, pysanky eggs, heirloom hand-stitched Easter linens, and more.

This year, I had placed on my calendar a time slot to "assemble our Easter basket," but I had failed to place on my calendar a time slot to actually buy the items for the traditional Easter basket. So, in the early hours of this morning, I raced around grabbing pantry and refrigerator items that were symbolic and ones we had on hand, even if they weren't pretty (e.g., Kirkland butter instead of butter shaped into a lamb).

Having taken thorns out of Jesus' crown for sacrificial deeds during all of Lent, today we decorated His crown with Elmer's glue and plastic gem stones. This always results in glue flying everywhere ('he squirted it in my eye!') and gem stones clattering across the kitchen floor, but a good time is had by all. The sparkling crown becomes our centerpiece at the Easter table.

Decorating the crown

Before John went to bed, he wrote out an Easter sign to paste on the door to the kitchen "so everyone who can read will know it's Easter when they come downstairs tomorrow!" He was so excited!

John's Easter sign

While I stayed up late assembling Easter baskets, I watched for the first time "Miracle of Marcelino," a black-and-white Spanish film (read here) which won at the Cannes Film Festival in 1955--my, has Hollywood and the international film scene changed! The children had watched the film earlier in the day and the 7- and 9-year-olds were held in rapt interest, so I wanted to watch it when I had peace and quiet. The film is about a little orphan boy raised by 12 monks and a miracle involving a crucifix.

For an old black-and-white movie, I was absolutely delighted that the acting is fresh and sincere: nothing feels stilted or like stage acting. The Spanish voices are dubbed over in English by excellent voice actors.

Mothers, I ask you to watch this one-minute excerpt from the movie as Jesus explains what mothers are to the five-year-old boy and be ready for your heart to swell to bursting.

The movie is utterly wonderful and I highly recommend it, as well as recommending having Kleenex at hand. (It is available on Amazon.)

We don't need a massive number of movies and television available to us: we need just enough high-quality, clean, decent, movies that teach truth, beauty, and goodness. "Miracle of Marcelino" is one of them.

Baskets ready for the children in the morning

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