Friday, March 21, 2008


I really wish Spring Break was the week after Easter, rather than the one before. I feel so rushed and busy this week that I haven't really taken the time to take in Holy Week.

When I was a kid our entire town (except the gas station) closed down between noon and 3 PM on Good Friday so people could go to church. When we were little we were too antsy for church so when Dad came home for those 3 hours we colored eggs. For the 13 years I was in school there, those three hours on Good Friday were sacred.

When I was in college Holy Week was busy for me as a vocalist. I usually sang at a minimum of two different churches that week and weekend. And I was always booked by the end of January! I'd sing Handel on Good Friday and a celebratory Easter song on Sunday. I never tired of singing along to the hymn "Up From the Grave" as the service opened on Sunday. It didn't matter what church I was at -- we sang that hymn and recited with the pastor "He is Risen Indeed!"

Now it is at least 20 some years since the days when my hometown shut down for Good Friday and at least 10 years since I spent the week singing in churches. Sadly, today it is difficult to find a Good Friday service, much less a church who hands out palms on Palm Sunday or offers a Seder service on Wednesday or Thursday. We won't sing "Up From The Grave" on Sunday and my Handel's Messiah has been tucked away for years (it's not just for Christmas -- it covers all of Christ's life including his death and resurrection). Perhaps today while I meditate on the awesomeness of what Christ did on the cross for all of us and I grieve for the pain and torture He endured for my sins, I also mourn for the days when Holy Week was indeed "holy", when Good Friday was a communal day of meditation and prayer, and when the traditions of the church were embraced rather than shunned for dramas, choruses, and multi-media presentations.

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