DeKALB – Caroline Quinlan relishes a long Easter Vigil on Saturday night filled with readings, traditional prayers and communion.
“You’re drawn into the whole meditative experience,” Quinlan, a DeKalb resident, said. “It creates a really joyful, glorious experience Sunday.”
Across DeKalb County, the faithful will commemorate Easter with ceremonies and services that will bring to a close a Lenten season of reflection and start a season celebrating new life.
In contrast to the solemn services of Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday are joyful celebrations filled with flowers, bells, lights and water, said the Rev. Donald Ahles from Saint Catherine of Genoa Church. The Holy Saturday ceremony begins in the dark and ends with light, which gives way to a celebratory Easter service where Ahles will speak about secular Easter symbols such as the egg.
“We wouldn’t have those symbols if it wasn’t for new life,” Ahles said.
Fire will start the Easter celebration at Mayfield Congregational Church UCC in Sycamore. At 7:30 a.m., the Rev. Martha Brunell will light the fire pit on the church property with a few Christmas tree trunks congregation members saved.
“It will be time for brief reflection,” Brunell said. “Mostly, it will be about the impactful experience of being around a fire and knowing that symbol. Fire provides warmth and brings people together.”
During the service after the fire, Brunell will preach about the how people fit into or are an extension of the Easter story of Jesus being resurrected as part of the season’s focus on beginning new life.
“No matter where you are in life, there is an opportunity to begin again,” Brunell said.
The Federated Church of Sycamore will host an egg hunt after its Easter service Sunday morning. Not only will children delight in finding plastic eggs filled with candy and bible verses, but adults will as well. Children hide the eggs for the adults in the sanctuary while adults hide them for children outside.
The Rev. Amy Johnson also makes origami Easter baskets filled with plastic eggs and candy to be taken home by anyone. Her husband, the Rev. Dennis Johnson said the baskets are a way to make sure no one is forgotten on Easter.
Other than being a way to extend thanks, the egg symbol of new life is something particularly longed for after a long winter, he added.
The theme of new life also will be at the center of Dennis Johnson’s Easter sermon, which will look beyond the act of Jesus walking out of the tomb to what resurrection means.
“We believe in experience,” Dennis Johnson said. “Your experience is what brings you closer to the holy. So what is your response to the resurrection in a world that still has room to live?”
“God gives life where none is expected,” he added.