At the request of readers, I'm rounding up my favorite posts on Holy Week and Triduum. For wherever you are and wherever God may meet you this week...blessings on all of it, the mess and the joy. If you're expecting: Labor's Stages: A Triduum. If you have a new baby: Baby's First Holy Week. If you're a new parent, missing Triduum services for the first time: Wholly Weak (Or A Sick Mother's Reflections on Expectations). If you have little ones and can't make it to church: A Holy Week at Home. If you're busy preparing: The Forgotten Days of Holy Week. If you're burnt out: The Footwashing. If the weather (or world) doesn't look the way you hoped: Holy Snow. If you're gearing up to wrangle kids for many hours in the pews: Gospel, Interrupted. If you have a child with special needs: Where I Saw Christ, Back Row, Pink Coat. If you or your kids are sick and you're stuck at home: What An Upside-Down Holy Week Taught Me About Jesus. If you're grieving: Was It A … [Read more...] about how to Holy Week: a guide for where you are
This week we remembered the anniversaries of Maggie and Abby's births and deaths. As I journeyed through the three days, a brutal triduum, I began to see how deepest grief can take the shape of the paschal mystery. Dying and rising. As the first year after loss ends, I find myself turning toward new directions. I will not be writing only honest grief in this space; there are new callings. So as Lent begins, this feels a fitting end to what the last year has been. Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. . . . Birth. It is the beginning of the scar, the longest on my body. The scalpel that sliced through stomach, layers of skin and muscle, to pull two tiny babies into the world. They are too small to cry. But I do, quiet tears streaming down my face. My arms cannot wipe them away, strapped down and stretched out to both sides. This surgery is cruciform; nurses do not tell you that in pre-op. Then again, how could they possibly prepare you? Did anyone … [Read more...] about was it a holy week?
Today is March 25th. It is nine months from Christmas: the Feast of the Annunciation. The day that celebrates the angel Gabriel's announcement to Mary that she will bear the Son of God. Today is also Good Friday. It is the day that remembers Jesus' suffering and death. This year they fall on the same day. This year I cannot help but see the searing truth in their overlap. When Mary heard the startling news from the angel, when her heart grew troubled, when she said yes to God, it was for this. For Good Friday and Easter and everything that comes after. And when Jesus suffered and died, it was for this. For good news and Incarnation and everything that came before. Is one a feast of death and the other a feast of life? No. They are both. You cannot get the hope without the heartbreak. The Christian story holds both. And through this twisting tension - creation and resurrection - everything we know about life and death is changed. All … [Read more...] about the yes that breaks your heart
Thin places. The ancient Celts gave us this phrase to capture the feeling of space and time when heaven and earth are scarcely separated. My life has held a handful of these sacred moments and holy grounds. I imagine yours has, too. I always recognized these encounters in space and time by their sheerness - the sense that I could simply reach out and touch a Presence that I did not feel elsewhere. Where walls once stood solid and strong between here and heaven, everything collapsed for a brief, beautiful instant. Holy Week has often been a thin place for me. One year I suffered a deep hurt during these days and had to start a long learning of what it means to forgive. Another year someone I love came to a point of crisis in this week, and I had to witness another kind of suffering unfold too close to home. Over time I have journeyed through these days inside and out. Trying to make sense of the stories we tell of death and resurrection. Trying to make sense of my … [Read more...] about the hardest and holiest of weeks