Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Down To The Wire

I LOVE Holy Week! And no, I probably don't write about faith this often during the year in general, but to me, this week is rivaled only by Christmas for big doin's...

And now we're gettin' down to it! I'm taking tomorrow, (Good Friday), off, and the whole weekend is filled with faith stuff - That makes for a great weekend, if ya ask me... As Charlie noted, any Friday off is a Good Friday, but this one especially!

We start today with Maundy Thursday, (Which would make a great name for a Christian band...) It is, of course, the celebration of the Last Supper, and of the initiation of the Sacraments. You also have the washing of feet, as Christ did for his disciples, and after vespers, the stripping of the altar, and The Watch begins... Our church is doing a traditional Seder dinner tonight before the vesper service, so it's a busy night. It's nice to take a section of the watch throughout the night - The church is amazing in the quiet, late hours, when no one is around...

The Watch ends on the morning of Good Friday. It's supposed to be a day of fasting, but as with other Friday's during Lent, most Christians just avoid eating meat... Somewhere in the 5th century, the custom of consecrating all the chrism, (The Holy Oil used to annoint the newly baptised), was begun; it's still done that way today. While there are services on this day, most churches don't offer Communion: Ours does, but from the reserve Sacraments that were sanctified at the Maundy Thursday Eucharist the night before, (If you've ever noticed a red candle burning near an Altar, that tells you that there are reserve Sacraments there, blessed and ready to be used in a time of need.) The issue with that is that Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Christ and Eucharist is a celebration, and for the most part, the two are kinda like oil and water, I guess. Nonetheless, in the big picture view, it works - The way I see it, Christ's crucifixion was a voluntary act - Not fun, but done absolutely on purpose;

Three men on a mountain, up on Calvary,
And the man in the middle was Jesus,
He died for you and me

Now the man on the right was a sinner,
Tied to the cross he bled, he could have been forgiven,
But he mocked the lord instead.

They say you are the son of God, they nailed you to a tree!
Come down, come down and save me, if God your father be...

Now the man on the left was a sinner,
Sorry for his sins, he begged the Lord's forgiveness,
and Jesus said to him,

Fear not, fear not this earthly death,
before this day is o'er, you'll be with me in paradise,
On Heaven's golden shore

Three men on a mountain, up on Calvary,
And the man in the middle was Jesus,
He died for you and me

Holy Saturday is a day for baptisms and the start of the Great Easter Vigil. Christ lay in his tomb: In three of the four New Testament Gospels, this was the Sabbath Day, so Jesus resting was appropriate, I guess... For many, this is a day to honor those who have died in Christ's name: It's a day of quiet reflection, a time to contemplate what would have happened, I think, had Christ not risen on Easter. Ancient tradition held this as a day of fasting as well; one was meant not to eat for at least 40 hours before sunrise on Easter... Whether or not one fasts, it is a day of waiting and the last day of darkness...

And then it comes, Easter dawns...

He rose up and walked again,
He rose up and walked again,
Jesus rose up and walked again,
He rose up and walked again,
He's up in Heaven, so we all have a friend

No comments: