“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? / The world would split open.”
Poet Muriel Rukeyser

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Triduum

Tonight begins the Triduum, the holiest of liturgies in the life of the church. We will celebrate one worship service that begins with Maundy Thursday and the washing of feet. It continues with an overnight prayer vigil at the Garden of Repose, keeping watch with Christ, symbolized by the consecrated bread and wine and lighted candle.

The watch ends with the Good Friday service at noon. This service will be somber, gathered around a barren altar, even the clergy will sit in the pews. Only the consecrated bread and wine and a candle will be on the altar. We will offer a meditation instead of a sermon. There will be props for the meditation, dice, sandals, a mallet, nails, a rough hewn cross. We will leave in silence after eating the bread and wine.

The Great Vigil, held Saturday night, reminds us of our salvation history. We light the paschal candle in the darkness of the outdoor courtyard, symbolizing the light of Christ coming into the world anew. The first half of the service is in darkness, with only individual candles to light our worship service. We will hear scripture read, offer prayers, bless the new waters of baptism. And then it will be Easter. The lights will come on to reveal flowers and life in all its fullness. We will process to the Gloria. We leave rejoicing.

Sunday is Easter Day. It will be a big service here. I look forward to it. However following the Triduum, Easter Day services are a relief. It is after all "just" a Sunday service, much like any other Sunday (as it should be), just more people.

I pray that the people in my new church find this Holy Week to be filled with a deep sense of spirituality. I hope they "enjoy" the Triduum and all it means. I hope all goes well, no major faux pas.

I pray that your week goes well, however you celebrate it.