Easter is a huge time of celebration around here. Schools take off for 1 or 2 weeks, Easter markets open all over the city, Easter decorations hang in the windows of shops and people’s homes, families hit the road for vacation or to spend the holiday with loved ones. It’s a big deal. Naturally our programs take a pause for 2 weeks since everyone’s on break which feels a little strange, but we use this time of quiet to refocus and reenergize for the last weeks of programs that are just around the corner. As far as our own celebrations and reflections go, we gathered together with church members once on Thursday – the night of the Last Supper – and again on Easter.
Thursday’s “Nachtwache” (or Nightwatch, traditionally known as the Easter Vigil), was held at Chuck’s apartment. This night is a representation of the Last Supper in which we attempt to do as Jesus and His disciples did at and after the Last Supper. Throughout the night, we read scripture in accordance with what we were doing. We began our night in prayer at exactly 7:48pm, the time of sundown. We then shared a meal together, talked and story-swapped, then moved to the living room for a time of worship. We first took turns sharing what the Lord’s Supper means to us. We then prayed over the bread and fruit of the vine and took the Lord’s Supper. We also took turns sharing encouraging events that had taken place during the week and praised God for giving us those moments. We spent time in song, scripture, and prayer. When midnight arrived, we read Jesus’ arrest and again spent time in prayer before we left for home.
On Friday, Will and I visited our first Easter market out at Palace Schönbrunn. The market had a similar vibe to the beloved Christmas markets but was nowhere near as good. We walked around the various stands but mainly enjoyed the sunny atmosphere by sitting in egg chairs and drinking coffee.
Then came Easter! Sunday was absolutely fabulous and celebratory with the sweet spirits of 9 Lipscomb students and some of their parents and family members joining us in worship. Several from this group read scripture or lead us in prayer. Our church sang all of our favorite songs plus a few new ones. We think the Lipscomb group really enjoyed the challenge of singing in and listening to others read scripture or pray in German. After our time of worship came to an end, we opened the kitchen for lunch: ham, deviled eggs, scalloped potatoes, rustic garlic potatoes, veggies & ranch. The students were thrilled to finally have a home-cooked meal and were especially thrilled when Amanda broke out her Strawberry Rhubarb and Coconut Cream pies. If there were any disagreements during yesterday’s celebration, it would have been over the pies.