Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Pascha in November

Yesterday was Maundy Thursday.  

No, wait, that's not right.  It was Good Friday.  

No, that's not right either.  I'm pretty sure it was Holy Saturday.

No, actually, I think it was all three of those.  Yeah, that sounds right.  In the middle of November, we had all three days of the Triduum.  It wasn't officially that, of course, but for a number of us at LSTC, yesterday was the three holiest days of the year.  It was all part of Dr. Ben Stewart's Intro to Worship class.  Every semester, Dr. Stewart holds this Paschal Retreat, where the members of the class prepare, participate in, and lead the three services of the Triduum - Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil.  For many students, this is the first time they experience all three days, and even though it's outside the church calendar, it still has a powerful effect on us.

Right after this, Dr. Stewart doused us with what he calls the Holy Super-Soaker.

I'm the sacristan at LSTC this year, which means I'm in charge of keeping the space and liturgical items maintained - basically, I'm the chancel guild.  As part of that job, I get to participate in this Paschal Retreat.    During the course of 6 hours yesterday, we washed each others' feet, heard stories of Jesus' death and resurrection, listened to the greatest stories of the Old Testament, had communion twice, venerated the life-giving cross, heard the Word preached 3 times, affirmed our baptisms, and sang beautiful music together.

Oh, and we also made a blazing bonfire.

My favorite part of the Easter Vigil.

It's a little strange to experience these holy services in one day, outside of the regular church calendar.  However, when we were together in that space yesterday, God was with us, reminding us of the greatest promises of love and uniting us in Christ's resurrection.  

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