It is Wednesday. It some ways that is the middle of the week and in others it is simply the beginning. As far as the checklist goes, much has been accomplished. Meetings and appointments are completed. The sermon for tomorrow is sitting neatly printed on the table in the hall near my newly washed alb. The article for Friday's paper is off two hours before deadline. And despite the fact that I grouse and complain every year that it comes in the midst of Holy Week....I feel refreshed and renewed for having gone to the Renewal of Vows yesterday. Yes, we do this every year. And no, it's not like being re-ordained, or re-baptized. Once, for either of those is most surely enough. This is renewal. Recharging. Refreshing. What it does for me each time I go is to help me remember why it is again I signed on for this....and do we not all need to be reminded now and again? Yes even (or maybe especially) in Holy Week. The Bishop preached from John 21:15-18....how Peter was hurt that Jesus would question his loyalty and how we too, get hurt by so many things....the slings and arrows that get tossed at us from without by the all too human folks of our little flocks, and the even sharper points of the self-criticisms with which we wound ourselves when we feel we are falling short of being who God calls us to be as priests and deacons. It was powerful. It made me cry. And it made me glad I was there.
Oh, and the Bishop knows I'm engaged now, too. As with other important people in my life, someone else beat me to the punch and told him for me. Ah, well. He seems pleased, if a tad surprised. "We will talk soon," he says. And I'm sure we will.
Tonight we begin the Holy Week services. We will start with Tenebrae. We have not done this before. The liturgy consists of the gradually extinguishing candles while psalms are chanted interspersed with scripture readings, until only the Christ candle remains. Tomorrow we will have our traditional Maundy Thursday service. We will have Eucharist and I will preach. We will chant a penitential psalm that says to me...."Yes it is Holy Thursday" all the way to my bones. We strip the altar and leave the church in empty darkness. Good Friday there will be the Stations, though not with our amazing organ accompaniment this year as he is on sabbatical. Our organist has composed interludes that are so interwoven with each Station....the organ groans, it hisses, it whispers and shrieks....I will miss that this year.
Literally I will miss that....R and I will leave on Friday to be with his family until Saturday evening. This is perhaps how we try to have the clergy/family balance thing? I don't know....it's my first shot at it. I just know I want to have some time with them, even part of them, on this my first Easter in this clan. I have observed the operation of this family net now and have felt its power in my own life and I know with sure certainty I want to be there, within, belonging.
And so the "real" Holy Week begins....may we all be blessed by whatever it brings.