The Holy Week Journey

March 27, 2015

“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.” Frederick Buechner

When I think about the Triduum, I am reminded of Buechner’s quote above.  One cannot walk through Holy Week without getting a little grace on your feet and seeing a bit of the mystery revealed.  And one can’t escape the Triduum without touching and tasting your way to the holy.  The liturgy invites one in to truly experience a holy and spiritual journey that leaves one breathless and joy filled and buzzing with renewed hope.

You might be asking, “What is the Triduum you are talking about?”

3 worship services held consecutively on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday or Sunday of Holy Week.

footwashing

MaundyThursday:

The journey through the Triduum begins on Maundy Thursday.  We enter into the upper room with Jesus and his disciples and we eat a meal together.  We hear and see the example that Jesus has given us to follow in regards to serving others.  Jesus asks the question, “Do you know what I have done to you?”  Yes, Lord.  We know- but sometimes our followthrough is less than adequate but you continue to meet us where we are with a bowl, towel and warm water to teach us again- to show us again and encourage us again to try.

After we are fed and our feet our clean, a transition takes place and our hearts are reminded that this is the night that Jesus was arrested and tomorrow he will be tried and crucified.  The worship space is transformed from the upper room to a tomb being prepared- right before our very eyes.  It is moving.  It is powerful.  And we depart in silence.  The journey continues.

Good Friday

Good_Friday_Cross

We enter in silence and we pray.

We hear the story  of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ again, and we pray.

There are moments of silence, pauses in prayer, but- at least in my heart, there is very little quiet.  It is not uncommon for me to be moved to tears.

And then this happens: If desired, a wooden cross may now be brought into the church and
placed in the sight of the people.

There is nowhere else to look except at the cross.  Our minds and hearts and souls and eyes are drawn to the cross.  Some view it from their seats, others get up and move closer, even kissing the cross.

We move to our confession, a prayer that for some are written on our hearts and have been said over and over and over yet on this day, the words taste different.  The words feel different on our tongue, in our hearts.  Today, for some, the words stream down our cheeks and land on our hands.

Hung on a cross and placed in our hands, a physical reminder of our connection to Christ, being fed by the Spirit, nourished to pray, our prayer continues and we depart in silence.

The Great Easter Vigil

Easter-Vigil-620x225

We begin after Sunset on Holy Saturday.

We begin in darkness but only for a moment.

A new fire is kindled and we each share in that new fire.  We hear these words:

Dear friends in Christ: On this most holy night, in which our
Lord Jesus passed over from death to life, the Church invites
her members, dispersed throughout the world, to gather in
vigil and prayer. For this is the Passover of the Lord, in which,
by hearing his Word and celebrating his Sacraments, we share
in his victory over death.

And victory it is.  The promise has been fulfilled.  But we can’t stop with this opening line.  We must hear the story again, write it on our hearts, live it in our lives.

We hear about God at work in creation, in the flood, in Abraham’s sacrifice, Israel being delivered through the Red Sea, God’s presence being renewed in Israel, and the gift of Salvation offered freely to all.  We receive a new heart and a new spirit within.  We hear about new life given to a valley of dry bones and we are gathered altogether again with God. We hear again and again through the scriptures that the God who loves us, who created us will love us until the very end and keeps the promises God has made to us.

We, in turn, renew our baptismal vows.  We state again what it is that we believe and we agree to live a life that loves God and loves our neighbors all the while reminding ourselves and each other that we can and will, with God’s help.

We pray.  Oh Lord do we pray and remember.  We enter with the light of Christ that overcame death, that overcomes the darkness and we are reminded of our promises to God and gift that God has given each of us in and through Jesus Christ.

And we celebrate.  After 40 days of wilderness, of fasting and praying, we celebrate with light, with wine and bread, with incense, with bells, with shouts of joy, anthems and hymns,  and for me, I feel liberated and humbled all at the same time.

I don’t know about you but this kind of physical journey that requires time, focus and attention- not to mention my heart, mind, body and soul- feeds me for months and even years afterwards. To walk through this journey with a community is such a blessing because their presence allows us to remember together.  We lived through that experience together and we have been changed and transformed through the journey.

Oh my friends.  I implore you to experience this Holy Week in some way that goes beyond Sunday worship.  I commend to you this chance to have your heart humbled, broken, broken open and restored.

In case you are looking for a place to worship here in Wilmington, here is the schedule of services for Trinity Episcopal Parish:

7:00pm on Maundy Thursday (April 2) at Old Swedes  (606 North Church Street, Wilmington DE 19801)

12:00pm on Good Friday (April 3) at Trinity Episcopal Parish  1108 North Adams Street, Wilmington DE 19801

8:00pm Easter Vigil (April 4) at Trinity Episcopal Parish

You will not regret the time and energy you give to this journey.

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