Monday, April 06, 2009

Holy Week!

"The most wonderful time of the year....". I know it's from a Christmas song, but for me it screams HOLY WEEK.
I really do love it.
I don't mind the extra work pumping out bulletins, or the demand of writing 8 sermons (ok, 7, my Deacon preached tonight (Monday of Holy Week). I don't because it is just wonderful. Holy Week. A living and breathing thing, that allows us a glimpse into that last week of our Lord's life on earth. If only we could get all the Christians, much less those who don't believe, to set this week aside, this one week, and attend services, if not every night AT LEAST the Triduum of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Great Vigil of Easter.
If only.
Meanwhile, some will come to all, some will come to a few, most will only come on Sunday, having missed the story that gets us to Easter. All we can do is pray and prepare and rejoice when someone dares to step out of the culture of the world and say - this week is for God and I will commit to walk this path with Jesus.
I am doing a few different things this year. Their is a debate amongst preachers in the Episcopal church on whether to preach on Palm Sunday or not - the liturgy is so rich, the Passion Gospel so profound, some think it better to just let that speak for itself. I am reluctant to do so. Last year I preached a very short homily outside before the blessing of the palms and the procession (right after the 1st Gospel lesson of Jesus entering the city on the donkey). This year I preached a short homily just after the 2nd lesson - that fantastic reading from Phillipians. I will do this again on Good Friday, I will preach on the Isaiah passage BEFORE we read John's version of the Passion Gospel. It gives me, and the church, a chance to deal with some really amazing Scripture passages that can get lost with everything else that is going on.
At the Vigil we will use story tellers again to tell the Old Testament salvation history lessons. And we will renew baptismal vows (this is my first Vigil to not have a baptism, darn it). Then the magic happens - lights, bells, music, joy.
I can't wait....I hope you find a place to join in this most wonderful time of the year.

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