It's something, how a dreary and rainy day can change your mood. Or maybe it's just a letdown after the emotion of Easter. What a weekend!
You go through such a range of emotion through the Three Days. The Maundy Thursday liturgy includes the laying on of hands with individual absolution which always kind of gets me. The words I say are "In obedience to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins." It's entirely biblical and it's right and good to do this but I kind of feel, like, Wow! I forgive you all your sins(?)
Then there's the foot washing. I don't wash the whole congregation's feet or even a representative twelve. I ask one person ahead of time if they'll allow me to wash their feet. Again, it's moving. I take off my chasuble and stole while the person takes his/her shoes and socks off and I kneel down and take one foot at a time, pour water over it, and dry it. Then I get myself dressed again while s/he puts socks and shoes back on. I kind of have a sense of embarassment, certainly humility, so that it's hard even to look up into the person's face.
Then we share the Lord's Supper which isn't really anything out of the ordinary. After that we strip the altar and worship space. The way we do it, I pick up the various items and paraments all around the chancel and any altar guild members who is present comes forward to receive them and take them out of the sanctuary. Our organist normally chants Psalm 22 a capella and I sit down until he is done and then leave in silence.
I've tried more and more to remind myself and others that Good Friday is not necessarily a sad or somber occasion, just a subdued or austere day. It is, after all the "triumph of the cross" that we proclaim and celebrate. We read the passion from John's Gospel in which Jesus does not suffer, does not cry out, does not feel foresaken by God. It is, after all, called "Good" Friday. Our organist chose ELWorship 350 as the Hymn of the Day. "They crucified my Lord, and he never said a mumbalin' word; not a word, not a word, not a word." I normally like something like "Ah, Holy Jesus" or "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded" but the African American spiritual was very fitting. We prayed the bidding prayer, and did the procession of the cross. I always mean to get a more substantial cross. The one we have, that was here before I came here, is made out of 2 x 3s and looks nothing like something on which anyone could be crucified. Then I read the solemn reproaches to which we responded each time with the Trisagion (ELWorship 161) by Mark Mummert. Then we sang 803, "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" and then left in silence after reverencing the cross.
We don't do an Easter Vigil service. We did the first few years I was here together with the Anglican Church. I enjoyed the service but I honestly don't miss it. The weekend is so full anyway.
But we do worship at dawn (or slightly after). We have a sunrise service on Easter Sunday out at our cemetery. I proposed it for my first Easter here and the Worship Committee said, "You can do it, but I don't know who's going to come." That first year (2003) 28 people came and since then it has become a tradition that many people don't want to miss. This year we were 61 gathered there. We start at 7 a.m. so the sun had been up for a little less than half and hour. We bring a table and I bake bread on Saturday and we have Holy Communion together.
After that service we come back home and our kids search around the living and dining rooms to see what the Easter Bunny left them. Then at 9 a.m. we go to the church for breakfast. Then we have worship in the church at 10:30 a.m. It's amazing what a difference the registration on the organ and the bright tunes of the Easter hymns will do to change the mood from Thursday and Friday's services. And the alleluias just lift my spirit after having disappeared all during Lent. We changed to setting 1 of the liturgy from ELWorship and the canticle of praise "This is the feast..." is just awesome in my opinion. The alleluia in the third verse goes up to a high E-flat so that you can pretty much shout it out. We ended with 382, "Christ Is Risen! Alleluia!" which has been transposed in ELWorship so that the refrain only goes up to an E-flat instead of an F as it did in LBW, but it's still a joyful noise.
Yesterday was a day of rest. We slept in. We rented some movies (Sherlock Holmes, Planet 51, Blindside) and just vegged on the couch in front of the TV. After a four day weekend the kids weren't eager to go to bed and see the weekend end. Then today we woke up to a grey sky and showers through the day.
But it's still Easter. I've got to try to remember that. Maybe I have to go home and greet the family with "Alleluia! Christ is risen!" to get myself and all of us back into that frame of mind. As I look outside there are crocuses and daffodils blooming, and the first tulip. The grass is really green. I don't know if it was like this a week ago. New light is streaming. Er ist wahrhaftig auferstanden! Il est vraiment ressuscite! Alethos Aneste! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!