The season of Lent is often referred to as a journey or a desert—a place to be navigated as foreigners on the search. The Old Testament stories remind us that there is no preparing for the events that unfold, or how they unfold in our own hearts. I’ve mentioned it before, but if you need something to get you in the spirit as we re-visit Passover, I highly recommend this poem by Alla Bozarth-Campbell.
Here we are standing on the last sturdy ground for the next three days. The week will continue, surely, but it begins to take on a somber tone as we enter Triduum—the three holiest days of the Church’s year.
Tomorrow evening, around the globe, the Church will gather at dusk, roll back its sleeves, and return to the surprising practice that jump started the first Easter. The Church will take on the posture of servanthood as it washes the feet of its community and breaks bread together.
This is the posture with which we're reminded to begin.
Next, we move into the harsh reality of Good Friday. Fasting, silence, hearing Christ’s passion, perhaps participating in Stations of the Cross, Adoration of the Cross, Mass with no consecration—the only day of the year this does not take place.
The stage is set for despair.
The following night, we’ll gather again on the vigil of the third day—could it be? Candles blaze, lilies permeate the space, physical darkness turning to lights bright as day, banners, singing, incense, Baptism, and Alleluias resound.
This is no time for despair! In fact, we’re about to enter the longest period of celebration of the Church year—50 days of Easter!
This synopsis is not required for you, I know—we’ve done this dozens of times, right? And yet it’s the annual celebration that moves us, and flies by until we encounter it again the following year.
I’ve been marveling about this despair-turned-joy whiplash for a month or so now, feeling a nudge to enter into this week with joy and expectation, certainly; as well as a deeper awareness of those for whom the enthusiasm of Easter Sunday falls squarely in their experience of heartache. It’s offering me an invitation to be ready to sidle on up to heartbreak, and to celebrate resurrection when it comes—even out of season. To read more on this, hop over to the Blessed Is She blog.