Cathedral EasterPosted: March 24, 2008
It’s very strange to wake up on Easter Monday not feeling completely spent. By this time my head’s usually still spinning from leading eight intense services in four days. And I’m ready to crawl into a cave and roll a large stone in front of the entrance. Hey, he’s not using it anyway.
Easter morning was glorious. We worshiped at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC. We actually needed to get tickets in and, while I was curious about what they’d bring on the open market, I didn’t scalp them. Though I had fun imagining the headline in the next day’s edition of The New York Post: Priest Scalps Easter Tix, Spends Night in Overcrowded Tomb.
A friend at the diocese hooked us up with four great seats in the Great Choir — reserved seating at that (my name was plastered on the back of them). Which meant we could go to the world-famous Hungarian Pastry Shop across the street and then waltz in during the prelude.
Easter morning at the Cathedral is everything you’d imagine. Bishop Sisk was the preacher and celebrant, the music was stunning (choir, harp, timpani, brass, etc), two flaming pots of incense, four sets of crucifers and acolytes, various liturgical functionaries. All in one of the most beautiful settings in the world. Not a bad place to be a priest without a parish. And it was very special to be there sitting in the pews with my family. I even wore a suit and tie rather than clericals — it’s been awhile but, yes, I remembered how to tie it.
When you attend a nearly two-hour service with kids, you’ve got to come prepared. We were armed with the usual accoutrements — grapes, cheese sticks (things that don’t crunch!), and lots of art supplies. During the bishop’s sermon (all about living a life of hope and peace in the midst of ongoing conflict) Zack was very actively coloring an elaborate Star Wars battle. There were light sabers and lasers flying everywhere resulting in large-scale death and destruction. At The Peace I handed it to the bishop’s wife (who was sitting behind us) and said, “Here’s Zack’s response to your husband’s sermon.” She loved it.
One more note about the service. During communion Judy Collins sang something — this is the kind of thing you get at the Cathedral on Easter morning. Now I’d heard of her (and she was only sitting about eight people over from us) but when I asked Father Patrick Ward what he knew about her on our six-mile run this morning, I inadvertantly shed light on my inexcusable ignorance. He was staggered by my lack of musical knowledge and metaphorically slapped me. Evidently she’s bigger than I knew — 1975 Grammy winner for “Send in the Clowns,” has recorded with Arlo Guthrie, and is the “Judy Blue Eyes” of Crosby, Stills and Nash fame. She’s also the Artist in Residence at the Cathedral.
Oh well. Perhaps I’d better book her now for next year’s Easter service.