This morning, early, I got into the car and ran over to the church to get a few administrative chores done before the work of the Triduum takes over and our parish moves into full-time worship for the next three and a half days.
With coffee in hand, I finished up the chores and headed off for something I have not been able to participate in for a couple of years: the Reaffirmation of Ordination Vows and Blessing of Chrism service down at the Cathedral in Philadelphia.
This is a traditional rite amongst the clergy, that we gather with the Bishop on Maundy Thursday and remind ourselves of, and renew our commitment to, our vows as priest, deacons and bishops. Of late, we have also added a reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows for those laity who wish to attend. Alongside that, the Bishop also blesses the oils used for anointing the sick and chrismating the newly baptized for the coming year.
Cathedral liturgies aside (getting all those clergy together and pointed in the same direction has been compared to herding cats), it was a welcome moment for Mariclair+ and me. We got the chance to pause, reflect on our callings to serve/lead the Body in following the Way of the Cross and to spend time with colleagues who are just as busy in the same way that we are in this present moment. "What are you preaching on tonight?" "What does your parish do for the nightwatch over the sacrament?" "Do you do the Great Vigil?" Etc. We share, we laugh, we talk and compare notes.
Then, it is back to Trinity. Tonight is Maundy Thursday...with Agape Supper, Footwashing and Eucharist. Tomorrow is Good Friday with an early morning service, 3 PM Tenebrae and then the final liturgy at 7:30 PM. 8 AM Holy Saturday, 3 PM Baptismal Prep and then the four service pilgrimage of the Vigil and festal liturgies of Easter Day.
These days I feel like I see Trinity at its finest. The pews are full of people who wouldn't miss these liturgies for anything. We are walking together, following the One who gives us our very being. This is our experience of becoming, of being...of every little hope and dream.
And don't forget the eggs. For years now, volunteers have painted wooden eggs, decorating a different base coat every year with flowers, butterflies and fauna of all shapes and sizes for distribution to the parish households. 300 a year...with each family taking one home. A bookshelf record of these special days played out year after year. Laura and I now have three...and soon it will be four...on top of a cabinet in our library. Each year is different, and each one tells a story.
I just got a call from one of our homebound parishioners...requesting an egg for her collection. She can't get to church anymore...but that egg will mean the world to her. Christ rises and we mark that celebration with a fresh color...a new interpretation of the renewal and grace of Jesus Christ, raised.
But first...the great journey. Triduum and beyond....