This time of year, we hear a lot about Easter. In fact, stores have been commercializing on Easter for a few months now with their pastel-colored bunnies and chocolate eggs. But just like the tension between Advent & Christmas, so too is it a challenge to balance our faith and tradition and our cultural understanding of what actually leads up to Easter.
You cannot have Easter without Holy Week. It’s like having dessert before supper, opening your birthday presents before your birthday, or watching the end of the movie before seeing the beginning. Easter is all about the Resurrection, but can one truly understand the Resurrection without experiencing the death that leads to such Resurrection?
It’s just like us to skip over the messy parts. We tend to not want to hear bad news if there is good news right around the corner. We don’t like to hear about Christ on the cross, bloody and beaten, suffering for our sake at our hand. Christianity tends to be most popular when it’s viewed with rose-colored glasses.
But part of our call at Christians is to walk that road with Jesus, to experience, even briefly, the stories and images of those final hours with Jesus. During Holy Week, we are called to “stay awake” with Christ in those last moments and live with the sacrifice, the darkness, and the silence.
Why? Because we all experience pain, suffering, and sadness. In Holy Week, we see that Jesus shares all of the hell we experience. We can look on and see how horrible and yet how meaningful Jesus’ actions truly are. It’s the one time of the year which we in the traditional denominations focus on these moments intentionally, and thus, God calls us each to share in that experience.
For the first time at St. Nicholas, we will be having services throughout Holy Week, Monday through Friday to give you all the opportunity to experience be beauty and silence of Holy Week. Each service will be at 6:30pm. Here’s a look at each service:
Holy Monday, April 6, 6:30pm: The Rev. Hal Weidman, rector of St. John’s, West Point, will be preaching and celebrating at this service of Holy Eucharist. Fr. Jeff will be playing musical selections from the Taize Community.
Holy Tuesday, April 7, 6:30pm: Fr. Jeff will preach and celebrate and will also play musical selections from the Taize Community for this service of Holy Eucharist.
Holy Wednesday, Stations of the Cross, April 8, 6:30pm: We will hear the final moments of Jesus as we process from station to station during the liturgy of the Way of the Cross.
Maundy Thursday, April 9, 6:30pm: We will experience the true meaning of servanthood through the act of footwashing, and we will see the beauty of the Stripping of the Altar after this service of Holy Eucharist.
Good Friday, April 10, 6:30pm: It is always darkest before dawn. We will celebrate Eucharist from the Reserve Sacrament as well as hearing reflections from David Johnson, parishioner of St. Nicholas and writer.
Come for one, come for all. We pray that you will be moved by these liturgies and they will eventually highlight your Easter.