02 April 2013

Triduum - Easter Musings

"triduum" the three days: Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Pascha (Easter,) form the solemn emotional rollercoaster in the catholic Christian experience. Friday's liturgies are subdued meditations on the death of Our Lord, and the sense we have that when we say that "Jesus died for us" we not only proclaim his gift but our needs. All of Saturday, until after sundown, there is no specified liturgy. One might do the hours indeed one should. But Eucharist, our central feast is notably absent.

Saturday is a remembrance that we are buried in both a spiritual sense and eventually a literal one. Under that earth however is abundance: it is also the day of anticipation. Those who do not live within the catholic faith communities may not see that. But then, when they contemplate the crucifixion, if they do, they see only an execution.

Ah but come inside a church! Inside you will find the life within the seed sown on Friday. Inside the church, instruments are tuned; flowers arrive and are lovingly arranged; choristers, and musicians practice; the sacristans, or altar guild clean, and polish everything they can reach; floors are washed, and waxed; programs are proofread, and reread; robes are cleaned, mended, and pressed; acolytes, and other participants in liturgy are walked through their duties; and sermons are written, rehearsed, rewritten, and finally completed.

Late Saturday, as the sun sets or even later, for Anglicans and Romans, comes the "principal service of the church year." We know the date is at best approximate, and we do not care. What is happening is more important than when.

Darkness is thrown away, physically with new fires lit in ancient rituals. Fire shared with all, as individual candles held by all join the first light. Greeted by bells, "Alleluias," and jubilant music; the cry, "He is RISEN" is shouted and the response, "He IS risen indeed!" echoes through sacred spaces, and into our consciousness.

The liturgical acts, and the preparation all lead to this. The metaphor is complete: Jesus died, went into the earth, and arose, carrying all of us with him. The world of darkness he left when he died is the kingdom of God now and abounds with potential. On Friday we face our humanity, our sense of sin, the ugly and the evil kingdom of darkness we too often choose. Saturday we face not dying but death itself. We see the winter we face, and the darkness seems to win. Then, with a burst of joy and triumph we see the new kingdom come, and the world needing redemption.

All the world requires is this single three day period. All we need do is "Grow the Church, Form the Faithful, and Change the world." For what are you waiting?

No comments:

St Laika's

Click to view my Personality Profile page