Saturday, April 15, 2006

Holy Saturday Summary

Last year, I missed all the Holy Week services due to the hospitalization of our then five-week-old. This year, I am drinking them in with my family. As Blondechick 13 said a week ago, “I’m so glad it’s Holy Week; it has all my favorite services!”

It’s a feast for the senses:

(Be sure to click on the links for accompanying pictures)

Palm Sunday

The eerie sound of the shofar
Banners rippling as we shiver in the cool morning breeze
Palms brushing crisply against my hair as Bitty Bantam frantically waves his
The evocative smell of incense
Musical hosannas to our King
Children dancing and waving ribbons
A sobering Gospel, memorized, rivets our attention
Purple vestments of penitence exchanged for the red of Passion

Maundy Thursday

Gentle music
Cool water on my bare foot
Another’s hands touching my calloused skin
The same water, warmer now to my hands
Coarse towel to dry with
My husband’s voice and reflections, amplified
The bite of bread
The wetness of wine
“Do this in remembrance of me”
An altar stripped bare
A shrouded cross
Fading light
Flickering red vigil candles
A silent processional through the cool, dark night

Stations of the Cross

A slow, short journey from station to station
Iconic depictions of our Lord’s final hours on earth
Powerful prayers moving me to salty tears
The relief of confession

Good Friday

Black vestments
Somber silence
Lavender-scented oil on my forehead
My own voice in the microphone: “The iniquity of us all has been laid upon Him”
The Passion of our Lord, movingly, meaningfully, dramatically given from memory
Sitting as we listen
Rising to our feet
Kneeling at the end
A wooden cross lifted, put to shoulders, carried past, laid on the ground before us
Choir voices blend movingly, hauntingly
Nothing but a dry wafer tonight
The rough wood of the cross beneath my hand and forehead
Individual expressions of reverence all around: silence, tears, a kiss
(Wondering if my seven year old has fallen asleep, he’s there by the cross so long…)

And the Easter Vigil yet to come tonight!

Blackness
Pounding on the door
A candle lifted high, three times, in the darkness
My husband’s warm tenor voice, an ancient hymn, chanted: “The light of Christ”
Salvation history recounted in the Old Testament readings
New accompaniments every year…
A barely whispering flute?
The rattle of a rainstick?
A dancer in white raiment?
A troupe with staffs pounding the stage?
What children, what adults?
What songs, what musicians?
What creativity!
More light as we bless the water, baptize, receive new members, rejoice
White robes, wooden crosses, rough leather necklaces, the sweet rain of holy water sprinkled over us, joyful music
ALLELUIA! (a word we have not spoken in 40 days)
Deafening clamor of bells, keys, shouts and drums--
Hurry and prepare the altar with white linens, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and lilies—
A final drum solo
“He’s Alive!”
A five-minute sermon (what can one add?)
Tasty bread and sweet wine
Songs of celebration (who will start the dancing?)
Panting children and sheepishly joyful adults grab hands in the aisles
The old, the inhibited and those with young cast glad smiles
Tired bodies tell the lateness of the hour
“You shall go out with joy and be led forth in peace”
The Lord is risen; He is risen indeed!

1 comment:

Emily said...

I just looked through all your pictures, and I'm amazed! What kind of church do you go to? I love how you have have liturgy and also so much music and drama. Wow! My parents go to a non-denom church that has lots of music and drama (actually looks rather similar to the kinds of things you have) but no liturgy. I go to a wonderful liturgical Anglican church, but we don't have any drama of this sort. I am envious of your combination!