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By N/A
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The little girl in a flowered dress
holds a lit candle to carry
down the aisle.

As the organist begins the hymn
the congregation hushes
for the processional.

The candle bearer advances,
the green-robed choir and the minister
follow, singing
“Christ the Lord has risen today, Alleluia!”

How she stares at the flame
pride flushing her cheeks and
widening her smile
on her slow path down the centre aisle carpet.
past worshippers of every age

I yearn for something she possesses

At the front, she gently places the candle
between white lilies at the altar.
The choir files into their loft.

“Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia”
The tenors, altos and sopranos
achieve their celebratory notes and lyrics
as the congregation joins in.

How the little girl beams,
as she returns to her mother in their pew.

Greetings of “Peace be with You,"
responses of "And Also with You," and
“Happy Easter” fill the church.

We exchange smiles
and handshakes
how can I mask my secret sorrows?

Spring sunlight spills its morning rays
across the ceiling and over
the wooden pews.

My friend the tenor, in the choir’s back row
raises his voice in harmony
with the occasion.

The minister delivers his sermon
proclaiming the eternal life and hope symbolic
of this day.

“Thee to know, thy power to prove, Allelluia!
Thus to sing, and thus to love, Alleluia!”

This evening the tenor must attend
his niece’s funeral,
twenty-five and suddenly gone.

I grieve my brother-in-law’s recent death,
and my brother’s major stroke
one week after giving the eulogy.

See how I restrain my tears
for this morning,
a little girl in a flowered dress
has carried a lit candle down the aisle

all the while, smiling.

(Hymn “Christ The Lord Is Risen Today”
words by Charles Wesley, 1739
music: Lyra Davidica, 1708)

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Submitted: Thursday, May 12, 2005

Last Updated: Wednesday, August 4, 2010

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