A Holy Triduum

This is a special Thursday edition of Words from Will. I wanted to get it to you early as a reminder of what we have ahead of us, starting tonight.

Tonight begins the "Triduum" (pronounced Trid-oo-um). It's a Latin word meaning "three days." Of course these aren't just any three days. This is a long weekend, but not in the vacation sense. Over the course of these three days we participate in a single worship service that includes the coming and going (and adding and subtracting) of the congregation. There's no benediction as a reminder that they're all part of a single piece. We gather throughout to consider in mind and heart.

Consider what it meant for Jesus, the Son of God, to wash the feet of his disciples.

Consider what it meant for him to associate bread and wine with his body and blood.

Consider what it meant for Jesus' situation to become increasingly dark and gloomy (the meaning of "Tenebrae," which we associate with the passion readings and the darkening sanctuary that will accompany them) for Jesus on the night of his betrayal and arrest.

Consider what it meant for him to make that walk toward Golgotha, passing places of worship, perhaps homes he visited, people he knew and children whose eyes must have grown large until their parents shielded them from the grotesque spectacle of a whipped man carrying a cross.

Consider what it meant to hang on a cross bleeding and suffocating while the sky - and people's hopes - darkened.

Consider what it meant for God's body to be entombed.

Consider what the many hours of the Sabbath meant for all who mourned the death of their Lord.

As you put those events together, you can see why the days of the Triduum are considered one set. Where would you stop one and begin another? Those horrifying hours didn't have any neat conclusion in them. There was no time for a blessing and exhale because, as happens with terror, the fear and violence and grief are piled on top of each other with no clear ending in sight. Placing Jesus in a grave was not an ending anyone was ready to accept. Thank God, it's not one that had to be accepted.

Please be part of as much of our commemoration of the Triduum as possible:

  • Maundy Thursday: 
    • Footwashing, The Lord's Supper, and Tenebrae at 7 p.m. in the Sanctuary
  • Good Friday: 
    • Stations of the Cross at 10 a.m.; meet in the Irby Street Parking Lot
    • Good Friday Service at 12 p.m. in the Sanctuary
  • Easter Sunday Celebrations: 
    • Sunrise Service at 7 a.m. at St. Johns on Dargan St.
    • Sanctuary and The Well services at 9 a.m.
    • Children's Way of the Cross at 10 a.m.; meet in The Commons
    • Sanctuary service at 11:15 a.m.

A holy Triduum to us all.