Easter Vigil Grilled Cheese Sandwiches: God With Us
Easter Vigil is my favorite holiday in the church calendar. Vigils, in general, are right up my alley. They’re like Christmas Eve — right before the high holy day, darkness surrounding people kneeling in churches lit by candlelight, quiet souls the first to welcome the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as guest. Easter Vigil is different. It’s like the few notes hanging in the dissonance before the big moment, hinting at the upturn in melody about to break forth.
I’ve sat in churches just as the sun is setting on Easter Vigil. Beams of light stretching horizontally across the floor, stomachs growling from fasting, people all dressed up in the front pews because they are about to join the church. I’ve heard tympanis announce the reading of the Gospel: Jesus risen. I’ve seen the lights turned on when communion is presented. I’ve watched hundreds of people be baptized in white robes and smelled the incense lit specifically for this day. Because this day is different.
This is the reason why we’re Christians. We’re about to hear the story about death and life.
I’ve come back to the same compelling thought for a few years now at Easter. It was pointed out in Greenville College chapel by Greg Coates that Jesus was first mistaken as a gardener after his resurrection. This is especially important when the story of humanity begins in a garden. I was floored in my pew that day, unable to hold back tears, holding my breath in awe. It’s such a beautiful part of the story.
Jesus, the gardener of humanity. Or, as Rachel Held Evans put it in her new book (Searching for Sunday), “Death is something empires worry about, not something gardeners worry about. It’s certainly not something resurrection people worry about.”
While the sights, sounds, and smells of the liturgy have always been home, I’ve also loved the traditions that spring forth from friends going to church together. Breaking fasts after Easter Vigil looks like standing in a kitchen, sitting on counters, while someone makes grilled cheese sandwiches. Clinking glasses: “Jesus is risen!” “He is risen indeed!” Going to bed with full hearts and stomachs.
God with us.
Tomorrow we embark on the journey of the Triduum. My thoughts and prayers are with you as we go about our normal, every day lives, just like the disciples did thousand of years ago.
P.S. The perfect grilled cheese is one made over low heat with real butter (they’re crunchier). My current favorite (if you were standing around in our kitchen) would have to be: turkey, apple, avocado, and a stringy cheese like mozarella. Don’t ever doubt apple or avocado on grilled cheese.