Making triduum a priority

The culmination of the Christian liturgical year is celebrated in the three liturgies that make up the triduum, or three days. During these three days we participate, liturgically, in the paschal mystery of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.
In order to better understand the triduum, it is necessarily to let go of our modern construct of chronological time. During Holy Week the church goes back to an older way of keeping time, more in tune with the rhythms of sun and moon, day and night. In the ancient world, the next day began at sundown, not at twelve-midnight.
When we gather on Thursday, April 13th at 6:30pm, we will start a liturgy that does not actually end until the Great Vigil of Easter on Saturday night. Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil are meant to be one service, extended over three days. That is why there is no dismissal on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday. The time between the liturgies is simply a pause, a time to reflect until the next movement in the liturgical drama. The Easter Vigil begins as we kindle the new fire at dusk, concluding Holy Saturday and beginning Easter day. It is a liminal moment where we stand on the threshold between  Lent and Easter, the cross and the empty tomb.
Holy Week, especially when we make it a priority, when we fully enter into the mystery of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection as portrayed in the triduum, can be a life changing experience. It is the culmination of our journey with Jesus to the cross, to the tomb, and to on to resurrection.
I have sometimes referred to the Easter Vigil as the “Super Bowl” of the church year. While it may lack catchy commercials, the Vigil never ceases to mesmerize me with its stunning beauty. This year Bishop Gary Lillibridge will be the principle celebrant as we baptize, confirm, receive, and reaffirm more than fifteen new members. Parishioners are encouraged to bring a bell, wrapped in a cloth, until the Great Noise when we proclaim Christ’s resurrection, and begin the First Eucharist of Easter.
Before the Vigil (Saturday, April 15th) there will be a parish-wide forum with Bishop Lillibridge, starting in the parish hall at 7:30pm. Even if you are not planning on staying for the Vigil, please do come for this time with the bishop. This is Bishop Lillibridge’s last official visitation with us before his retirement this summer.
This Holy Week, let’s make these three days a priority. Let this triduum be a starting point for new growth, new life as we experience together Christ’s resurrection.