If I become senile in my old age and forget how to tie my shoes, I’ll still remember celebrating Easter in Florence, Italy.
It was 1984, and Mom and Dad had brilliantly planned for us to be in Florence on Easter. Naturally we planned to attend the service at the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, otherwise known as The Duomo.
Can there be any experience like it?
No, there really can’t. I’m not kidding. I’m not exaggerating. There can’t.
Having arrived at the Duomo extra early to secure prime seats, we were unaware of the circus that was developing outside. We sat in our seats, quiet and unsuspecting, as we waited for the service to start.
Eventually, music began playing and a line of priests walked up the aisle in dignified pomp and circumstance.
We didn’t understand what we were seeing, but we enjoyed it. The atmosphere in and around the Duomo was so thick with joy you could almost wear it.
And then the moment arrived that could have given birth to the phrase, “I never saw that coming.”
As everyone sang, one of the somber priests in the front of the church reached over and lit the tail end of a dove suspended on a wire. (It wasn’t a live dove, of course, but rather a symbol of the Holy Spirit.)
Well, no sooner had the priest lit the dove than it shot down the aisle, out the back door, and slammed right into a carnival cart parked by the doors, causing fireworks to explode out of the cart in every direction. Colored smoke poured into the air, and the masses of people outside in the piazza cheered like it was midnight on New Year’s Eve.
Stunned and unsure how to process what I’d just seen, I turned to Mom and Dad and said, “They just blew up the Holy Spirit.”
Mom, Dad, and I laughed until we cried. I can’t remember anything else about the service after that. I’m sure it was lovely, filled with lyrical Italian, or maybe they still speak Latin in the Duomo, but I can’t remember. I was fixated on the bottle-rocket-dove blasting through the church and exploding into a riot of fireworks.
How in the world did a group of the most somber looking men as I’d ever seen walking up the aisle only moments ago turn into carnival workers bringing joy and laughter to boys and girls of every age?
Through the years I’ve thought about that moment many times, and I just laugh. If it’s not one of my top ten favorite moments in my life, it’s certainly way up there.
As I prepared for Easter this year, I kept wishing we had an Easter Cart to explode.
I’d like to celebrate Easter like Florence! With a Bang!
Easter, or Resurrection Day, as I like to call it, is truly the most joyous day in history, so why shouldn’t we set off fire works? Firework shows are the crowning of every 4th of July celebration—America’s Independence Day.
Easter morning celebrates an even greater Independence Day–independence from sin and death. That’s worth celebrating with style. Fourth of July style. Florence, Italy style!
I think every church in the world should have a bottle-rocket-dove and fill the air with explosions of fireworks and colored smoke to celebrate such a victory.
Unfortunately, our church doesn’t have an Easter Cart, but maybe next year our kids will wake to find an Easter cart in our back yard ready for a celebration they’ll never forget.
I hope you celebrate it with a bang!
What’s your favorite way to celebrate Easter? Share in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!