Wednesday, April 2, 2014

On Holy Week church services

There are three common ways that people approach the many liturgies offered during Holy Week:

1)  “ALL IN”:   If there’s a service, the plan is to be there.  Of course, I believe that this is a well rewarded journey through Holy Week:  from the pageantry of Palm Sunday, the solemn waiting of Tenebrae, the intimate dinner of remembrance on Thursday, the darkness of Good Friday, and what awaits us on Easter.  I can promise you that if you have the time to commit to this path, it will be filled with meaning and sacred moments.

2)  “SUNDAYS + GOOD FRIDAY (maybe)”:   This is a tried and true path that many people walk in a culture that does not pause for Holy Week.  Palm Sunday, in addition to celebrating Jesus’ dramatic entry into Jerusalem, points us to what Jesus willingly walked to (and through).  Whether or not one can make it to one of the Good Friday services, the crucifixion remains heavy on the heart and mind.  The range of emotions and experiences then brings us to the dramatic “Alleluia”, challenging us along the way.

3)  “EASTER ONLY”:  There are always people unfamiliar to the rest of the congregation on Easter Day.  Often referred to as “Christmas and Easter people”, they come in the sense that Easter is a special day to attend Church, even if they regularly do not.  Some certainly go to church on Easter simply to be with their families.  

If you are in this third category, what I want to say to you is that I AM SO GLAD that you go to church on Easter Sunday!  

Your presence on that day, if only that day, speaks to a sacred connection we have as people of God:  something that must be celebrated.  While I, as a Christian and an Episcopal priest, hope to be in your presence beyond Easter, know that our relationship as neighbors in Christ remains an essential part of this church community:  and you are always welcome here.  Thank you, in advance, for sharing in the joy of the Risen Christ.

May your journey in Christ, wherever it leads you, be holy, sacred, and filled by the love God has for us all.



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