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Late in the day on Sunday, our church gathered for our traditional “Easter sunset service” (I suppose we feel more akin to the curious disciples on the road to Emmaus than the spice-laden women at the tomb). We meet on a small island in a pond at Meredith College, where we sit among beautiful azaleas, towering trees — and a flock of angry Canada geese.

The geese don’t like us because one of them is usually nesting in the biggest azalea bush. On Sunday, they didn’t like each other. As we sang “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” (not easy with a small group and no music), our voices were drowned out by two large geese who chose that moment to have a loud and fierce duel, each trying to grab the other’s head and drown it in the water. I presume they both wanted to be the alpha male, but with geese it’s hard to tell. Every other goose in the pond swam out to watch the action.

When they finally broke it off and the losing goose swam away alone, my wife called us back to order. Recalling a concept that Joyce Rupp talks about in one of her books, she encouraged us to think of “little Easters,” unexpected moments of promise or joy or hope that have come to us in more mundane moments.

As we shared various thoughts around the circle, I recalled the simple pleasure of working in the dirt and planting my tomatoes, an annual ritual that brings me hope of an abundant crop and good eating to come.

Earlier in the day, I’d enjoyed spending a few minutes beneath our Japanese cherry tree. It seemed slow to blossom this year, and I had begun to wonder if the leaves would overshadow the delicate pink flowers. Not to worry, just in time for Easter, the blossoms erupted in their full glory, bursting even from the trunk of the tree — another reminder of resurrection.

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