Maundy Thurs and Good Friday
“It’s just not the same.” It’s a common feeling. Whether it’s students and teachers making the best of distance learning, employers and employees learning the limits of Zoom, or healthcare workers and others working tirelessly to secure our essential needs, everyone feels dislocated. Unable to gather with our families, friends, or celebrate Easter together, we wonder when we might return to more normal life.
This Holy Week is not the same. But it’s not different either. The early Christians met in their homes and, this year, we will too. The apostle Paul, despite being chained in a Roman prison and cut off from the faithful, assured the Christians, “Though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit” (Colossians 2:5). We are no different. With our own voices we will give thanks for the risen life of the Crucified God whose love gives us strength for today and hope for tomorrow. We will read again the scriptures from earliest witnesses of those who saw him. And our prayers are the prayers of the faithful through the centuries, many of whom suffered persecution, famine, pandemic, and war. We may be isolated, but we are not alone.
Today we share with you two modified services of prayer for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday with brief meditations by your clergy. Traditionally, Maundy Thursday is observed in the evening when Jesus celebrated the Passover meal with his disciples. And Good Friday is observed between 9 am to 3 pm when he was crucified. We are also sharing a brief piece of music which has been a tradition in the American church and Church of the Ascension. We pray all these resources might help you in our observance of these holy days.
Early Easter Day, look for our morning greetings with prayers and meditation in your inbox or on our website. For those wanting to observe Easter online, you are invited to Bishop Jake Owensby’s Facebook livestream of Morning Prayer this Sunday at 10 am.
These three days, known as the Triduum, begin this evening through Easter are the meant to be a time of sober reflection, earnest prayer, and jubilant celebration. Some of you might want to consider these days as a time of retreat and take advantage of the brief audio reflections by Dr. Peter Walker based on his book, The Week that Changed the World. And I suspect that, here in South Louisiana, the present quarantine will not prevent many families from Easter celebrations, even on a smaller scale.
On behalf of your parish clergy, staff and vestry, we thank you for your prayers and support as we continue to serve Christ and his people through these trying moments with eternal hope.
With every blessing this Holy Week,