Ananda Family News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter Week

It’s been quite a busy Easter season here over the past week! We kicked things off on Palm Sunday with a performance of Swamiji’s oratorio, Christ Lives. The oratorio has long since evolved beyond a mere concert, into a profound experience of attunement—attunement with Swamiji, with Jesus, with the meaning of Easter. The choir was at its finest, we had a wide range of new and returning soloists, and as a special treat, Chaitanya came down from Sacramento to conduct. If you’d like to relive it, you can download a recording (one long track, or individual songs). We have new microphones now that record at a much better quality, much closer to what one actually hears in the audience.

The following weekend carried the Easter story on through our Good Friday service, a Saturday Easter retreat led by Asha, and finally, Easter Sunday itself. At the end of Sunday service we took our occasional-traditional congregation photo, this time in front of the altar, from a camera in the balcony, rather than outside in front of the church. Wonderful to be able to include the masters (visibly) in the shot with us! (More Easter pictures here.)

After service we headed over to the community for egg hunting and Easter brunch in perfect Spring weather. Spanakopita formed the main course, accompanied by salads, soup, and two tables full of desserts. For entertainment, we started with two classic songs updated for yogis — “Beginning to See the Light” (of the spiritual eye) and “Get Me to the Church On Time” (for kriya initiation). A delightful, original skit told the story of The Three Little Devotees and the Big Bad World. And Elvis made a reappearance for the final song, “Heartbreak Cleanup Hotel.”

Though Easter was now over, we still had one more important, new occasion to come together for. Monday, April 21st, was the first anniversary of Swami Kriyananda’s passing. Master had told Swamiji as a young monk that he would find God—and final liberation, or moksha—at the end of his life. Swami got there by devoting his life to serving Master and helping all of us progress along that same path. We held a special service honoring him for this, and the evening included a beautiful slideshow composed entirely of photos of Swami, and selections of his music. We ended by offering rose petals at the altar, among all the photos of Swamiji, in a mood so sweet and intimate that no one wanted to leave. It was a very loving tribute to the man who made all our spiritual lives possible through Ananda.

A few photos from Monday are here. Asha also gave a webinar that morning, titled “Remembering Swami Kriyananda.” You can watch the recording of it here.

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