(As posted by ME at RevGals.)
Holy Week is upon us.
Realizing that most of our readers are clergy, and that clergy don't necessarily have the opportunity to fully worship when they are responsible for leading (creating, writing, facilitating) worship:
I invite you to share five favorite Holy Week things, five things that are truly worshipful for you. It may be that it's the way they are done in your congregation (or were done in a previous one). It may be your personal preparation for certain services or observances.
Breathe. Be still. Look to the week ahead, and Holy Weeks past, and imagine the worship.
1) Washing of feet on Maundy Thursday. St. Francis in College Station would have stations around the worship space, with rose petals in the warm water. People would approach one another and go to the stations and spend as long as they wanted in loving attention to each other. During that time, there was worshipful singing. In my memory, this could take hours. probably not. but that's how I remember it.
2) Stripping and cleaning of the altar at the end of the Good Friday service. Heartbreaking.
3) Good Friday, which I usually take off. This gives me a day to consider just what the whole week means, and to take some time sitting quietly in the Triduum. This time of year, outdoors is a good place to do it...so much new life, so much promise of Resurrection. I also do a good bit of housework, which is somewhat penetential for me :) and also gives me an opportunity to symbolically examine the deeply cluttered and dirty places of my heart, along with my home.
4) Looking at people, one by one, and thinking that God loves them every bit as much as me. Often I am not mindful of that.
5) Holy Week service project. It is nothing official, but I always take some time during the week to do something for someone else. The key is, they can't know it.
Bonus: a piece of music that "is" Holy Week for you.
The Exultet, which is chanted at the beginning of the Easter Vigil service, which takes the church family from darkness to light and from the misery of the Crucifixion to the glory of Resurrection and Easter.
Text of the Exultet
The light of Christ.
People Thanks be to God.
Rejoice now, heavenly hosts and choirs of angels,
and let your trumpets shout Salvation
for the victory of our mighty King.
Rejoice and sing now, all the round earth,
bright with a glorious splendor,
for darkness has been vanquished by our eternal King.
Rejoice and be glad now, Mother Church,
and let your holy courts, in radiant light,
resound with the praises of your people.
The Lord be with you.
Answer And also with you.
Deacon Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
Answer It is right to give him thanks and praise.
It is truly right and good, always and everywhere, with our
whole heart and mind and voice, to praise you, the invisible,
almighty, and eternal God, and your only-begotten Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord; for he is the true Paschal Lamb, who
at the feast of the Passover paid for us the debt of Adam's sin,
and by his blood delivered your faithful people.
This is the night, when you brought our fathers, the children
of Israel, out of bondage in Egypt, and led them through the
Red Sea on dry land.
This is the night, when all who believe in Christ are delivered
from the gloom of sin, and are restored to grace and holiness
This is the night, when Christ broke the bonds of death and hell,
and rose victorious from the grave.
Holy Father, accept our evening sacrifice, the offering of this
candle in your honor. May it shine continually to drive away
all darkness. May Christ, the Morning Star who knows no
setting, find it ever burning--he who gives his light to all
creation, and who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.