It’s Holy Week again.
Growing up Baptist I had never heard of Holy Week. When I became a Methodist, I learned that it’s possibly the most important week of the whole year not just for us, but for Presbyterians, Episcopals, and Catholics too. There’s a service each day starting with Palm Sunday, and tonight is the night we commemorate Jesus’ last supper with the Apostles. Tomorrow night, Tenebrae (or Good Friday) is an eerie, dark service of despair and is possibly my favorite of all because it makes you feel what really happened. You forget about the Cadbury eggs.
I know that non-denominational and more modern churches are all the rage these days, and I think those churches are reaching a group that the formal churches like ours weren’t reaching… But for me, I feel God’s presence most of all when I feel the reverence as the acolytes bring in the candles to the altar, I ask forgiveness and take my wafer, and listen to a chamber choir sing words that have been sung for hundreds of years, in Latin or in English, it moves me. That sounds so lame, but there’s no other way to say it. When I’m there, it’s different from the rest of my day. The pomp and ceremony of the service isn’t caual, it’s not cool, it’s not popular, but it’s sacred. As Ben’s grandaddy says, “I don’t want church to feel like a watermelon cuttin’.” My whole life is a watermelon cuttin’, you know? Most all of our friends go to churches that are young and cool, and I’m glad they’ve got a place to call home that they love too. We all need that.
Every year I think the music is the most beautiful we’ve ever had, and every year it’s better than the last. Tonight a voilinist and cellist played with the choir and every song was so melancholy, I had a lump in my throat. What’s with me lately? It seems like everything makes me cry. Including this website, which completely broke my heart yesterday.
But I digress. Please please listen to this music. It was so much better in person. I need to learn to play violin.