By The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster
I remember the first time I went to a Maundy Thursday service. It was similar to what we do at Kenilworth Union—the story of the Last Supper paired with the full narrative of Christ’s passion and death on the cross. I was shoulder to shoulder with my dad. The end of the service was in total darkness. The organ chimed, how many times? Thirty-three, maybe, for every year Jesus was alive?
Before that, I had only ever been to Easter, never to Holy Week services. I had never experienced the fullness of Jesus’ journey to the cross and beyond. So, what is the comparison? Easter without Holy Week is like dawn without the darkness? Like the rainbow without the storm? Like the relief without the struggle? Or maybe Easter without Holy Week is like physics without math? Or a bicycle without wheels? Or a fish without water?
The mystery of Easter morning, the women with burial spices at the tomb, their mourning that turns upside down, the encounters of the risen Christ—it all unfolds within this bigger narrative of parades and passion—like the Cubs parade, the Hawks parade, the victory march through the city, followed closely by the lynching mob, the angry crowd, the criminal-convicting crowd distributing an unjust verdict to an innocent holy man. These Holy Week services—this Sunday and next Thursday—give us a profound three-dimensional faith. A deep, muscular, substantial narrative that echoes our own lives and gives us an unrivaled window into Easter.
Join us this Sunday at 8 and 10:30 a.m. for Passion Sunday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m. for Maundy Thursday Service of Tenebrae.