Not that the season of Lent is uneventful, but the real marathon began in earnest a couple of days ago. With Palm Sunday next on the schedule, Holy Week is less than 48 hours from beginning. This means several things for folks who work in churches, especially as administrators and clergy.
The beginning of Holy Week means several extra worship services have been planned and the associated worship bulletins need to be printed. The office copier should have extra toner and staples, just to ensure there is no crisis in those regards. It means the pastor must write more sermons than usual, in my case, beginning with Palm Sunday and continuing through Easter, our congregation has six worship services planned.
Holy Week also means the ladies of the altar guild are getting in gear. Palm branches have been ordered and need to be picked up, extra flower vases need to be put out, and all during the week the paraments need to be changed from purple to scarlet, scarlet to black and finally from black to white. No time to rest ladies, it’s a big job.
Finally, Holy Week also means parishioners need to dedicate their selves to coming to the services of worship; to move through the week and reflect on the Passion of Christ. Beginning with the celebration of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, to the institution of the Lord’s Supper, and finally Christ’s crucifixion, Christians realize the sinfulness of humankind is what brought these things to bear.
Weary from the Lenten journey, and the experience of Holy Week, we keep vigil on the eve of Christ’s resurrection. We read the stories of the Old Testament recounting our salvation history. We sing psalms and hymns expressing our thanks to God for his mercy, and we anticipate the time of celebration, the Feast of Victory at Easter.
Better pace yourselves folks, it’s a long and exhaustive week. It is a week like no other, a week of emotional swings amid great triumph and great sorrow. Yet, by Easter Sunday, we gather in the light of God’s victory over sin and the grave, singing our “Alleluias” to God and worshipping our Risen Lord.
Are you ready? If so, let the marathon begin!