by Kristin Rivers ‘16
During Holy Week and Easter Sunday, students had the opportunity to attend local churches such as St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Edwards (United Church of Christ), St. John’s Episcopal Church and First Churches (United Church of Christ) to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The celebrations varied: Edwards and First Churches had a Service of Tenebrae which recreated the emotional aspects of the Passion story; St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish had traditions ranging from Stations of the Cross, a 14-step Catholic devotion commemorating Jesus’ last day as a man on Earth, to Blessing of the Food; St. John’s had The Meditation, an all-night prayer vigil and a Contemplative Service before their Easter service on Sunday.
I attended Edwards with some of my friends and fortunately found a seat inside a packed sanctuary. The emotion and sense of community I felt that day stuck with me. I still remember the sermon Reverend Michael McSherry gave, the various hymns, and the moments of silence we shared, whispering the names of our loved ones.
I left the service feeling calm and at peace, enjoying the dose of perspective we need once in a while when our lives get hectic, especially as a student at Smith College. Here, even with a chance to go home and see family, I wouldn’t have had the chance to stay for an entire worship service. For once, it was nice not to leave early, enjoying the company of great friends and fellow churchgoers.
For me, and many others, these services and celebrations provided plentiful choices for Smithies to celebrate Easter when they may not be able to travel home for the festivities. In going, we have a piece of “home” with us as we celebrate and remember God and Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross.
It was worth going, above all else, for community, and finding peace in an ever-changing world.