Triduum

4:14 PM

We are traveling through the Holy Triduum--the three days before Easter. This is, quite possibly, my favorite time of year--as regards my religious practices, in any event.

During the Triduum, we remember the events leading up to the celebration of the resurrection on Easter. It begins on Thursday evening, or Maundy Thursday, as we remember the Last Supper and the example Jesus set for his disciples by washing their feet. We remember, as our Jewish brothers and sisters remember, the gift of salvation through the Passover. We watch as the Blessed Sacrament processes to the altar of repose and we are invited to watch and pray though the night, as the disciples were asked to watch and pray two thousand years ago.

On Good Friday, we remember the Passion--the crucifixion. We venerate the cross. It is very solemn and even sad. But it is necessary--after all, without death there can be no resurrection.

And on Saturday night we gather for the Easter Vigil. We light the first fire of Easter, and from that small fire, we light the Paschal Candle. We tell the stories of our faith--from the Creation to the Flood to the Exodus to the Prophets. We tell all the stories that lead up to the Passion and the Easter story. And then we celebrate. We baptize new members, we say "Alleluia" for the first time since Lent began and we rejoice in the promise and hope of new life.

The Triduum is a journey. It's one long liturgy spanning three days. Together we remember the last days of Jesus and his resurrection. It can be arduous and profound. It is the culmination of the preparation of our hearts and minds and selves made during the season of Lent. As I tell my kids in Sunday School, "Easter is a great mystery, and we need to get ready to enter or even come close to a mystery as great as Easter." Lent helps me get ready. The Triduum helps me make sure I am ready.

This makes me sound much more devout than I really am. While I do attend church regularly, sing in the choir, and teach Sunday School, faith does not come easy. It's something I struggle with nearly every day. Overall, this doesn't present a huge problem to me; I was raised Lutheran and my father says that I must have been imbued with a need for inner conflict during my catechism classes. Yet, there are times of the year when it is nice--and probably even important--to truly believe. Easter is one of those times.

The rest of the year, I can hold my feelings of doubt, and work with them. But on Easter morning, it's hard to walk in amongst the daffodils and lilies and the sounds of "Alleluia" and "Rejoice" if you're thinking, "Yeah, but was this really the way it happened?" The Triduum allows me to get ready--to enter this story that is still being told and still being lived and truly believe on Easter morning that "the Lord is risen indeed," whatever that may mean.

I meant to have this posted on Maundy Thursday--the first day of the Triduum. But it wasn't ready--I wasn't ready. I worked on it a little more last night, but it still wasn't there. Today, as I prepare myself for the Great Vigil of Easter, I think I'm almost ready. And so now, this post--which seems to reflect a bit of my own journey this year--is almost ready, too.

I wish all of you a blessed Easter and joyous and peaceful Passover; as you celebrate, think on these words by Primo Levi:

Each of us has been a slave in Egypt,
Soaked straw and clay with sweat,
And crossed the sea dry-footed.
You too, stranger.
This year in fear and shame,
next year in virtue and in justice
Amen.

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