Many of us took our Lenten preparations seriously this year, perhaps taking on a new prayer practice, or reading scripture, or fasting or letting go of something – all to help us to better repent and center ourselves on God. Last week we walked with Jesus on his path to the cross, starting on Palm Sunday with the triumphal entry into Jerusalem and our first reading of the Passion narrative. Our evening services on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of Holy Week further set the context of the events leading to Jesus’ betrayal and trial and crucifixion. And then we had the Triduum, the big three holy days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the Great Vigil of Easter. Through the worship services of these three days, we experienced the Last Supper, with foot-washing and the institution of Holy Communion; the crucifixion, standing at the foot of the cross along with the suffering Jesus; and, of course, the glorious resurrection of Christ (and two baptisms)!
Lent, Holy Week, and Easter can be an emotional roller coaster, full of ups and downs and twists and turns. So much so, that many of us metaphorically or even literally (for church musicians and clergy!) collapse after Easter Day! The week after the Sunday of the Resurrection can feel enervated and even anti-climactic. And yet we could instead be surrounding and infusing ourselves with the joy of new life! The Rev. Canon Charles LaFond made this point in a piece posted to Episcopal Cafe this past Sunday.
He writes, “We work so hard at getting the agony right and then the ecstasy stands waiting in our exhaustion like a puppy with a new bone in a house full of hungover liturgists. Why do we spend so much time and energy on a week of suffering and then collapse into exhausted silence for the second week of Holy joy? Jesus pulls us from sleep to dance, but we go right back to the routine as if cooking a four course meal only to collapse into bed from the effort, leaving the meal to sit on a table with no guests.”
LaFond recommends a new Triduum for Easter Week, commemorating Mary Magdalene’s encounter with the risen Christ in the garden on “Encounter Monday,” the breakfast the post-resurrection Jesus cooks for his disciples on the beach on “Friendship Tuesday,” and the experience of meeting the Lord on the road to Emmaus on “Wandering Wednesday.” He even has ideas about how to ritualize the experience of those Easter stories, which you might want to try even though we’re already a few days past the first few days of Eastertide (the fifty days stretching from Easter to Pentecost). Or you might take up a practice that brings you joy during Eastertide, just as you did something special in Lent. I have decided to pray and meditate on the theme of “appreciation.”
How will you celebrate the resurrection and new life during this season of Easter?!