Holy Week, 2018

Dear Friends,

The Easter Triduum is a period of three days of preparation for a feast. It is the last three days of Holy Week: Maundy Thursday; Good Friday; and the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday. In terms of worship, the three liturgies are really one service. In Scripture they each tell a different part of the Passion narrative (passion is Old English for suffer, from the Latin pati). The narrative begins with the Last Supper and moves through the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus. It concludes with the Resurrection after sundown Saturday evening.

I am very fond of the Maundy Thursday service at St. Paul’s. We have a simple meal in the parish hall with Eucharist. The stripping of the altar symbolizes the stripping of Jesus. The Altar Guild does a liturgical dance of sorts. There is a spiritual transition from festive fellowship to somber reflection.

I am not so fond of Good Friday, but it is critical to the story. For me, Good Friday is like going to the dentist. Uncomfortable, but necessary. A young girl in the parish asked me once, “Good Friday is the day Jesus died, right?” I said, “right.” She said, “So, what’s so good about it?” The answer to that question haunts me. The only person that is “Good” is Jesus…

The Easter Vigil has become my favorite service. I am being honest with you. I am spiritually energized by it far more than Easter Sunday. Parts of the Easter Vigil are crazy fun. You can’t help but chuckle at some the liturgical antics.

Some churches don’t do Holy Week. They don’t even do Lent. As Episcopalians, we know our story. It plays out in the way we worship. The way we worship shapes our faith. You can’t have the Resurrection without the cross. I suppose you could try, but I think the Resurrection means less without the trip to the dentist.

I invite you to engage the Triduum. Think of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil as three days in preparation for a feast. Think of the worship as three services that are really one service. Come to St. Paul’s and celebrate Holy Week. Join us for preparation. And we will see you on Easter Sunday!

Happy Easter,