Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Kristos voskres. Voistinu voskres.

It* was, shall we say, an eventful day.  (*Sunday)

In the morning, we packed a yummy brunch and headed to the Hollywood Bowl for Bel Air Presbyterian’s Easter service. It is…quite literally…an awesome experience. Awe-inspiring. Gives me chills. Thousands of voices raised in songs of praise. Out-of-this world music from gifted musicians. Symbolically, soft green hills rise above the scene. Bright balloons and flowers dance in the breeze, joining in the celebration of the joy of new life. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands…”

Families and friends share scrumptious picnics. Little girls flit by like butterflies in their Easter finery. Elegant ladies dressed to the nines and debonair gentlemen in suits sit next to tattooed and leather-clad brothers and sisters. Old, young, rich, poor…every race and tribe. “Come one, come all…”

To hear the words.

Love. Joy. Celebration.

Reverence. Relief. Restoration. Rescue.


My grandson James didn’t know what to think about it all. At first, he was overwhelmed. He covered his ears when the loud music was played, and whimpered, “I wanna go back (to) Mimi’s house.” After a little blood sugar boost from some Easter candy, he became a more “lively worshiper,” as we say about some denominations back South.

Luckily, we were high up in the bleachers with a wide aisle. He rolled down it, around it, and climbed up anything worth climbing. His Daddy and his cousin-crush took turns playing with him/chasing him while the rest of us tried to concentrate on the service.

Covered in strawberry stains, candy, and dirt; hair greasy from the container of Vaseline he’d applied to himself and his room… James joined the jubilation.

He konked out on the long ride home, so we snuck him into his bed as we prepared the next part of the feast. It was supposed to be a moveable one between the two houses, but Jay had made the main house so gorgeous and inviting that we stayed there for all three courses. There were eight of us at the round table, including Amie’s friend Gloria and Jay’s cousin Johnny. First, we celebrated Russian Easter with borscht and caviar. Then, we ate the main course, which is based loosely upon the Seder meal with a Southern twist. (Leg of lamb, asparagus with horseradish sauce, curried fruit, roasted new potatoes with parsley, deviled eggs, iced tea, a little wine…)

In the stunned afterglow of an ‘ample plenty,’ everyone sat at the table laughing and talking. I went to get James out of bed to see his Easter basket and go on an egg hunt. Re-entering  the main room, I stood yacking in the opening into the dining room. Suddenly, I felt a little funny…almost woosy. I stopped talking mid-sentence when I noticed the chandelier swinging from side to side. Matter-of-factly, native Californian Gloria stated, “Earthquake.

Jay came back in from the kitchen. We were all frozen; not in fear, but in wonderment. Faces registered bemused amazement. We were on a ride together. Undulating waves ebbed and flowed underneath us. In a strange way, it reminded me a little of the sensation of a baby moving around inside of me. That organic and gentle. But then the chandelier started going a little crazy. Candles in sconces on the wall flickered.

I got seasick. So did several others. (One, who shall remain nameless, said she “felt drunk, but not in a good way.”) James buried his head in an armchair and started crying. I took him outside to get some fresh air. It helped with the spinning.

The egg hunt was a bit anti-climatic after the earthquake.


 I’ve finally been through an earthquake! “I’ve felt the earth move under my feet…”  I guess this makes me an official (part-time) California resident.

The afternoon was lazy and gentle. We had dessert (bunny cake and cookies) out in the yard and let James play. (Played with James.) We chilled. Slugged around. Hung out. Lay in the yard.

It was nice.

But, still, there was a sense of stillness and wonder that we had experienced an Act of Nature totally outside the realm of our control.

There was no way to press pause or get off the ride. Once again…a reminder that we’re not in charge. We live and breathe under mercy.

“An earthquake (also known as a quake, tremor, or temblor) is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves.”

  adj 1. relating to or caused by earthquakes or artificially produced earth tremors. 
2 2. of enormous proportions or having highly significant consequences. 

Actually, our family has lived through more than one seismic shift in reality. Of enormous proportions. Having highly significant consequences. I’ve experienced the ground disappear from under my feet…been shaken to the core…knocked down to my knees. Felt everything come tumbling down in an instant. Crumble.

 I imagine some of you have, too. You’ve experienced instances when you realize that life as you’ve known it is gone forever. The house is falling down on top of you.

Sometimes there has to be destruction of existing structures before there can be reconstruction. Cracks in the foundation cannot always be repaired. Giant fissures separate and divide. But from the ashes and rubble come beauty and resurrection.


In re-reading the Easter story this week, these passages jumped out:

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!" (Matt 27:51-54)
 “After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.” (Matt. 28:  )

It was an earthquake that broke open the grave on the first Easter.

“…a sudden release of energy.”

All of the pent-up love energy from the core of the universe suddenly broke out. The pre-existent Energy, which caused form and substance to spring forth from void, exploded out into the visible world as a palpable Life Force. Resurrection power shook Death down to its knees. Turned it into debris.

That seismic activity produced the most "highly significant consequences" in the course of world history.

Because of it, there is hope for rebirth, rebuilding, and restoration from the messiest piles of rubble in our lives. There is resurrection power available to us in the midst of destruction and devastation of every kind.

Because He lives...


I'm sorry this is being posted a bit after the fact. People move on to the next event quickly. Easter is last week's news. But I've been bitten by either a bad bug or an earthquake hangover, so I couldn't finish 'til now. (The room's been spinning. )

Anyway, in re-reading what I started on Monday, I realize that I need to celebrate Easter every day, not just once a year.

I'm planning on posting more pictures of the day when I feel a little better.

In the meantime...if anyone feels like sharing any "earthquake" stories...times when the ground has given way beneath you...I'd love to hear them. If you're not comfortable posting, you can email me at kta2754@gmail.com.



  1. I wondered about y'all when I read of the earthquake. It is a very surreal experience. My one and only was in Santiago, Chile, in the extremely high tech and almost earthquake proof airport. To feel the shoulders of the earth shrug and stretch beneath you is a mighty thing; the closest I will ever know, I suppose, what it feels like to be an ant.

    And the Vaseline! I chortled. We had a similar experience with baby oil gel. Little man came to find me and announced proudly, "I'm all soft, Mama!"

    It took me over an hour to clean the bathroom.

    Earthquake aside, it sounds like a very pleasant Easter. Gorgeous photo! Y'all look like a catalogue ad.

  2. I really liked this post. You have such a talented way of taking daily events and applying them to biblical themes, and how they relate to our lives. I write pieces of your blogs into my journal so that I don't forget your words of wisdom! I might email you with my "earthquake experience" ....

  3. I love the words..."gracious plenty". How often I've heard it said after a "feast". Thanks for sharing your Easter basket. God's perfect provision for what looked and sounded like a very wonder-filled day for you all.
    ...Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside!
    Great is Thy faithfulness!



Thank you so much for taking the time to write.

It helps to know we're not alone.