The Elizabethan is a monthly update of parish and ministry happenings. Any items for the newsletter should be sent by the fourth Friday of the month to the church office email address: email@example.com.
Current Edition of the Newsletter: March 2018 >> Elizabethan 3-18
From Fr. John: The Three Great Days (Triduum) of Holy Week
“O sacred head, sore wounded, defiled and put to scorn; O kingly head surrounded with mocking crown of thorn: What sorrow mars the grandeur? Can death thy bloom deflower? O countenance whose splendor the host of heaven adore!” Hymnal 1982 ~ Hymn 168
“Now the green blade rises from the buried grain, Wheat that in the dark earth many years has lain; Love lives again, that with the dead has been: Love is come again like wheat that springs up green.” Hymnal 1982 ~ Hymn 204
We are part of the Christian church that moves mindfully, not just through the days and seasons of the year, but through the cycles of life and death. Our trust in God allows us to contemplate death with both mourning and equanimity in the same way that it allows us to anticipate the coming of new life. And this year, Holy Week will begin the week after the turning of the spring equinox and will end at the Great Vigil of Easter as the full moon rises on March 31st. The annual interplay between the astronomical hours of light and darkness dance with our liturgical turning to the Three Great Days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday, which breaks into the dawn of Easter at the Vigil and continues into Easter Sunday.
Our grandmothers and grandfathers in the faith used the word Pascha to name these three days. It is a Latin word derived from the Greek paskha, and that word comes from the Aramaic paskha or the Hebrew pesakh. All these words refer to Passover. The English word used to translate Pascha, Easter, is thought to be a translation of the name of the Anglo-Saxon spring goddess, “Eostre.” The change is probably fine, given that the early Christian Church transformed the Jewish Passover feast that commemorates the freeing of the Hebrew people from Egyptian bondage into a feast commemorating the death and resurrection of Christ that freed humanity from the bondage of death, sin and evil. During Holy Week, we gather at the Holy Table and wash feet, we mourn and celebrate with gratitude at the gift given at the Holy Cross, we keep watch at the tomb, sing of our passing from death to life with Christ, reaffirming our baptisms and welcoming Christians into the waters of the Holy Font.
The Triduum is one paschal liturgy celebrated at three essential moments: Christ’s supper with us, his death on the cross and his resurrection into our lives for the life of creation. These days, for Anglicans, are the center of the entire year. Consequently, we set aside concerns, entertainment and distractions to prepare to enter the Triduum with mindful, focused intention. With the millions of people in the communion of saints, we celebrate the rituals that draw us ever deeper and more broadly into the mystery of the Risen Christ who is our food and drink, our tree of life, our light in the darkness and our water of life.
Read more in the March 2018 edition of The Elizabethan >> Elizabethan 3-18
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