Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Holy Week--Big Deal

I always feel a bit conspicuous this time of year. Most of our friends attend one Easter service, in the normal Sunday morning time slot. Some may add one extra time slot to their week if their church holds a Good Friday service.

We Anglicans*, on the other hand, talk about "Holy Week" like it's a marathon, which it is. Starting with Palm Sunday, a service with lots of extras like palm branches, an outdoor processional, and a dramatic Passion reading, we enter Holy Week gearing up for Maundy Thursday, Stations of the Cross, Good Friday, an extra-long Saturday night Easter Vigil, and Easter Sunday--not to mention the short Blessing of Oil and Water on Thursday, and at our sister church, a Tenebrae service too.

These are not your everyday services. We have footwashing, stripping of the altar, veneration of the cross, an all-night prayer vigil option, communion, salvation history recounted through nine dramatized Scripture readings, lots of special music, singing, bell ringing, dancing in the aisles, incense, flowers,  vestments, banners....

We make a pretty big deal of Holy Week.

And it seems so right to do so. How else should one celebrate the most important events of Christianity but with a lot of extra time, attention and commitment?

As for me and my house, I wouldn't have it any other way but to be in God's house--all week long. As tiring as it can be, we look forward to it--and I mean the kids too! Our kids have high expectations for Holy Week. "It has all my favorite services in it," Blondechick said when she was about 10. Just last week, my strapping 17-year-old son grinned at me like the little boy he once was and confided, "I'm really excited for Holy Week. I mean, I know I'm going to be really stressed and busy running sound for all those services, but I can't wait. I love Holy Week."

I wonder sometimes if other folks think we are saints for suffering through all those church services, or if they wonder how we possibly find the time.  I am just thrilled that our kids are growing up thinking that this is the normal way to celebrate Easter! 


*I should qualify that with a phrase like "We Anglicans of a certain artistic persuasion." Not all Anglicans go all out for Holy Week like we do.

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