Easter Monday - The Day After

Easter Monday was, when I was growing up, an official public holiday in my state.  We got the day off from school and everything was closed - the bank, shops, the pharmacy, offices, pretty much everything.  From a child's point of view, it was just a spring day off.  Most people didn't do all that much for Easter so that they needed a day off, although as a clergy person I am quite aware of the Easter Monday (after many extra Lent, Holy Week, Vigil, Easter Day services) fatigue.  Where I grew up, we were pretty much all Baptists and Methodists, though, so there weren't all those extra services at the time.  We knew what Good Friday was, but most of us didn't do anything about it.  Yes, there was some extra cooking and there had been some clothes shopping or sewing during the weeks before, and there had been an Easter egg hunt at some point, but there wasn't much going on on Easter Monday.  I honestly don't remember ever doing anything on the day, but I was surprised when I moved to another state and discovered it was not a holiday there.

At any rate, I am definitely observing Easter Monday today.  The last few days leading up to Easter are intense - services offered morning noon and night daily during Holy Week - plus the Vigil plus multiple Easter Day services with extras like additional musicians, flowering the cross, egg hunts, additional services perhaps in "new" locations.  Easter eve and day were certainly glorious here.  The music! The flowers! The great sermons by my colleagues! The gorgeous / adorable Easter outfits on adults and children alike! It is all worth the effort! But good to have a day of rest afterwards.

Among other things, I served at one of the "additional in another location" Easter Day services - a Eucharist in the parish hall which was beautifully decorated and arranged in the round.  It was my job to set the table for the Eucharist - to put out the bread and pour the wine in preparation for the Eucharistic prayer.  This was my third service in twelve hours (having been at an evening vigil in one church and then a morning vigil in this one already) and I was a little tired.  I've done this duty more times than I can count, though, and am never anxious about it.  It comes as second nature.

I put out the bread - as much as would fit into the paten, as we had an SRO crowd - and began to pour wine into the pottery chalice.  And as I continued pouring, a glimmer caught my eye as the wine rose in the chalice, and I realized that something was bobbing around in the wine!  At first in my slightly fuzzybrained-from-only-4-hours-of-sleep state, I just looked at it curiously/stupidly.  Then, at the moment I recognized the bobbing thing to be a gold-foil wrapped mini chocolate bunny, I remembered that many a year someone on the flower guild or altar guild or a verger (I suspect the flower guild; in fact I suspect a particular person on the flower guild) has dropped an Easter treat into the chalice or nestled something among the wafers at this church.  The chalice trick is the best, as the pottery chalice would be dark inside and hide the treat much better than a silver one, plus the linen purificator is draped over the top.  One starts pouring in the wine, and gradually it becomes obvious that there's something in there.

I didn't do the V-8 head bop, but I did think, "D'oh! They got me! I should have been expecting this!"  I was able to keep from laughing out loud as I fished it out while the choir finished its anthem, and we went on with the Eucharist.  Although I'm sure laughing out loud at the Eucharistic table on Easter morning is a good thing to do.

I just wish I'd had the presence of mind to take the chocolate bunny home with me to eat after the service!  I wonder who ended up with it?

I hope your Easter Monday, however you observe it, is filled with joy and maybe even a surprise or two.


Perpetua said…
LOL! What a lovely story, Penny.

Easter Monday is a bank holiday in the UK as is Good Friday, but observance of them both has changed out of all recognition in the last 30 years. The banks are still closed, but most shops are open and crowded with people who have the day off from work and time to shop.
It was fun, Perpetua. I can't believe I didn't pocket the bunny (leaving wine stains on my alb).
Ray Barnes said…
A Blessed Easter Bunny, what a rare treasure!
Well, Ray, I actually fished it out before the Eucharistic prayer, and the verger removed it to the credence table, so it remained in its natural state, except for the being soaked in wine part. But as someone mentioned on Facebook, it's an object lesson about the surprise of Easter morning!
Although now that I think of it, we might have added in the Eucharistic prayer: we offer you these gifts of bread and wine and chocolate rabbit.
Rev Elizabeth said…
Glad to read the full story. It was fun ... and I think fun is part of God's creation!
Freda said…
Judging by the noise of the cars on the A-road nearby, I would say that lots of people have been out and about. And I suppose that lots are travelling home after the weekend. Glad to say that lots of visitors came to our country church, which helped fill the places of those who were away. When I was working (as a parish minister) Easter Monday was a day to collapse. Every Blessing
Elizabeth, yes, I think sometimes we don't emphasize the "fun" part often enough.

Freda, lots of visitors means it's Easter, doesn't it? Always glad to see the people gathered there. But it can be a lot of work to put on; I'm grateful to have a day to be. I was going to plant annuals today, but a storm came up. Too bad.
Anonymous said…
what a lovely and interesting post!! hahaha Happy Easter Monday, love Judyx