Friday, June 18, 2010

Sibling Assignment #127: From Darkness Into Light

The month is long gone. I'm so far behind. Still, Silver Valley Girl gave sibling assignments around the theme of April. Here is the first. " This year, Easter falls on the first Sunday of April. Pick one of your favorite Easter hymns, and write about why it means so much to you."

Here is InlandEmpireGirl's post.

If you enjoy theater and if you want to worship the Trinity, the Episcopal Church is the church to go to.

The Episcopal Church loves the run up to Easter. It's so dramatic: Jesus washes the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper, commemorated on Maunday Thursday (also known as Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great & Holy Thursday, and Thursday of Mysteries).

This service climaxes with the stripping of the altar, to signify the stripping of the Jesus before he's crucified, the church is plunged into darkness and parishioners come to the church to pray in darkness all through the night, an hour at a time until Good Friday at 11:30 when a Mass for the Unsanctified is held, followed by a three hour service of silence, grieving Jesus being crucified.

On Holy Saturday, the Easter Vigil service is held in the evening. Ours, at St. Mary's, begins at 8:00. The church is pitch black, still under the despair of Christ having been crucified. Depending on how much is retained and how much cut out of the service, Episcopalians worship in this darkness for an hour, sometimes ninety minutes, while the service makes its way through the haunting and gorgeous chants of a cantor and the history and stories that preceded Jesus with multiple readings from the Old Testament.

Then, having seen Jesus stripped, having prayed through the night for Jesus, having grieved his crucifixion, and having heard the great stories of God's presence in history, the priest proclaims, "Alleluia! Christ is Risen!" and those present proclaim in unison, "The Lord is Risen indeed! Alleluia!" and the light floods the church.

The long darkness is over. The altar is no longer bare. Despair succumbs to joy.

And, a Eucharist is celebrated.

The opening hymn is "Jesus Christ is Risen Today".

After carrying so much spiritual weight, through the forty days of Lent and the days immediately preceding the resurrection, this hymn is an emotional and theological deliverance from darkness into the light.

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