Mandan News

Dan Ulmer: An unexpected Easter 2012

So it looks like you made it through last week’s resurrection and are ready to take on the rest of 2012. At our house Grandpa got his afternoon nap in and life was good. However, as I look back to Easter morning, there was a small unexpected glitch.

My most memorable Easters were the ones when Dad and I would get up and find a sunrise service somewhere. Oft times there wasn’t one so we’d just head out in the country, walk a bit, find a place to sit, and let the prairie unfold before us.

The sun rose, green nubs of new life were sprouting all around us… it was just us and God… and we felt like we belonged out there communing with Him. By the time we rounded up the rest of the family and got to church we really did feel like God had risen…

Easter around our house has since evolved into breakfast at the church, church service, brunch at our house (which involves the grandkids trying to find all the stuff the Easter bunny hid and this year he hid 100 one dollar bills in 100 plastic eggs) and a nap.

Well, most things came out as expected; but the church thing wasn’t normal. I arrived for breakfast and having some time before church I took Tristan and Camryn for a tour of the educational wing in hopes of working off some of their energy before church.

Pastor Deanna met us in the hallway to inform me that she had to cover for Ben Dove in Wilton. Ben passed away last week and prior to that he was still doing services in Wilton. So she informed me that she was going to leave early and that I was going to give the benediction then gather the congregation in front of the church and launch one of those flaming Japanese lanterns in Ben’s honor. Towards the end of service I looked up to see Denna pointing at me to come up to the pulpit, which I did. When I got there she whispered that everyone was invited to lunch after the service and I was to do the benediction and torch up the paper lantern.

I assumed the pulpit… to which I dutifully announced the lunch and said I hope the grace of God is with you wherever you go. Then I scooted down the aisle when Deacon Tom informed me that I forgot to tell the kids to go Easter egg hunting and that folks could take the Easter lilies home so I scooted back down to the front of the church and waited for the choir to finish its closing hymn, completed the announcements and told the congregation that I’d meet them out front with Tom to lite up the lantern.

So Tom and I scooted outside, the wind was blowing pretty good and both of us had our doubts about sending a flaming lantern into the air… but the plan was to honor Ben, so we unfurled the paper lantern. The wind gusted and the paper part of the lantern tore off its base and the ceremony ended and everyone went on their way. Considering that I usually just come to Easter service in awe that I exist at all… I now know that there are times when one has to adapt…

Here’s hoping that you can handle whatever challenges God gives you… and remember it’s not always what you know rather what you think of in time…