Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sky blue. Daffodil yellow.

On this Easter Sunday in Boston, I wanted to spend the morning celebrating the resurrection of Jesus in a way I'd never had the opportunity to do before. I awoke to a sky filled with blue and sunshine peaking through the buildings. After one final tune up run to shake out the legs and keep my muscles aquiver, Bryan and me cleaned up, ate breakfast, and headed toward the New Old South Church on Boylston Street.

Upon reaching the front doors 35 minutes before the 11 o'clock service, we became more and more disheartened by our chances to even get into the building itself thanks to the long line that spanned the face of the church, wrapped around the corner lining Dartmouth St, and further spanned the building's back face along Newbury St. We took our place in line, and with each minute we waited, the more I realized how much I wanted to attend this service. 

The line began to move, but its slow pace gave me every reason to believe they'd close the doors 
at their maximum capacity and we'd be left wishing we'd arrived just a little earlier. Yet the ushers kept motioning us forward, and before we knew it, we scaled the steps into the foyer and stood gazing into the marvelous sanctuary, our jaws dropped. What appeared to be an entire orchestra welcomed us with prelude music. We took our seats.

I never realized how wonderful hymns sounded when sung with a choir, orchestra, and a magnificent pipe organ that spanned the entire face of the wall behind the alter. The service commenced with music, followed by the Easter story beautifully proclaimed by the Pastor. A special tribute to the marathon runners soon followed, which highlighted the project known as the Marathon Year of Scarf Remembrance Project and Hope 2014. 

The story:

After last year's tragedy, the New Old South Church began the Year of the Scarf Project. Members of the congregation who knit began making scarves of varying patterns, of different styles, of unique tastes, but with one common theme: colors of sky blue, daffodil yellow. The church members made about 300 scarves; truly a noble effort. Yet they weren't prepared for what followed. Word about their efforts fell on the ears of churchgoers across the country. Before they were ready, scarves of sky blue and daffodil yellow began arriving by the box-full. In fact, the mailman couldn't hardly deliver them all on his own, and additional staff had to assist with the delivery of boxes of scarves each day to the church. In the end, what started as 300 scarves by the Old South Church turned into over 7,000 scarves from churches of 49 united states and 10 countries. 

On this Boston Marathon weekend, members of the church have stood outside their doors handing out scarves to runners passing by. Bryan and I picked out ours on Friday. They had since run out, but during this service, ushers began walking down the aisles, their arms laden with sky blue, daffodil yellow. They had saved some specifically for this occasion. Ushers handed out scarves to churchgoers, who then blessed us with the scarves made by thousands of individuals who used their talents to knit their love and prayers of safety into something we could carry with us this weekend. It was as though God's love flowed through His followers in the form of sky blue, daffodil yellow.

I walked out of Old South Church with teary eyes. I never thought I'd have to use my scarf to wipe away my tears. Up until then, it had kept me warm against the Boston winds coming off the water. Yet it seemed fitting. This entire weekend it has embraced and protected me. 

My scarf came from St. Paul United Church of Christ in Old Monroe, Missouri. A woman named Grace in Royal Oak, Michigan made Bryan's scarf. I plan on sending a note of thanks after this marathon weekend is over. I just have one last endeavor to take part in, and that's to run the Boston marathon tomorrow under blue skies and streets adorned with yellow daffodils. Look for #13529 and #13346. We plan on enjoying a stellar day.

Team BM

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