Time to write during the course of this year has been scarce, and even more so as we step closer to the events of the Triduum.
The Lenten journey is epic, if done with any sense of purpose, and brings with it a renewal in the understanding that we have in the stories of our Scripture. Without a good Lent, there is a very real danger that the events we recollect in the days to come will be little more than fancy legends.
Palm Sunday explodes into a Lenten backdrop and having been denuded of our 'Alleluias' of late, find the arrived of our 'Hosannas' to be thrilling. Processing in all the garb and pomp around the church grounds may seem like an eccentricity to a passer-by, but to us who have walked Lent, it truly is a festival day. Barmy we may appear with our floppy palm branches, but joyous we certainly are. Changed too, if the faces on the crowd were anything to go by last Sunday lunchtime.
Today I have wrestled with sermons, devotions, liturgies and paper. Maundy Thursday has arrived, and despite being a feast of celebration, brings with it the roll of clouds on the horizon. We know that we will enter the church in White and Gold, but we try hard not to think about the desecration that will follow. Anyone who experiences the brutality of the Stripping of the Altar in out liturgy will have found it hard not to feel what is happening, as real in our day as in Jesus'. Only for mere moments in a whole year do we find a chance to sit, one-to-one, with Jesus. The perfume of flowers, the semi twilight of candlelight, the near silence of a church in watchful prayer - a sensory treasure if any existed. A pure moment in a faith journey.
Good Friday is always a funny one. We are left with so little after the robbery of Maundy Thursday, yet we find the most meaning in lots of ways. We are forced, as worshipers, to cope without the beauty and the 'things' of our faith's practice. We are called to look on the agony of one man, almost certainly younger than any of us, as his body is smashed before our eyes. My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? Father, why have you left me here to die? For those of us who will lay face down on ground, there is a sense that would be better if we were spared having to get up and proceed. The hardest thing, for the onlooker, is the lack of reverence. We are a processional people, a well-behaved gathering - yet we leave in disarray, in chaos - as the church doors are bolted fast and we are left with nowhere to go.
Darkness gives way to light on Holy Saturday. The darkness of death is conquered by the nullifying light of new life. A tiny spark of light on beeswax announces the Resurrection of our Saviour. The light pours across the church and the lullaby of the Exsultet is sung, pronouncing the arrival, finally, of Easter. Light explodes over the entire gathering and life is restored. The journey to new light is complete, accomplished. Dreams have come true.
The amount of work that we all put in at this time of year is a fit reminder of the real significance of the events that lay ahead. This isn't just another Triduum, it is the Triduum. It is our Triduum.
And may the betrayed, crucified and Risen Lord bless us all.