It is hard to believe it is Easter Day already, and that all those Holy Week services are already done. I was particularly happy with the way everything went at St. Paul's this year. I think in part I was better about planning ahead, at least with the major pieces. I had a lot of lay people participating in the service in different ways, and they all stepped up to the plate. I also really love going deeper into some of the liturgical traditions of the church and exploring them, and my congregation seems to enjoy this too.
In the past, we've had a Maundy Thursday service, and then an ecumenical noontime Good Friday service. But I've found that not many of our members do (or can) attend this service. Most people do not have Good Friday off from work anymore. The ecumenical service also features the "Seven Last Words of Jesus," with seven of us area clergy preaching mini-sermons, and frankly, I'm not sure how this appeals to people either. So...I decided to offer a Good Friday evening service at St. Paul's. We focused on the Last Supper on Thursday, and the Tenebrae on Friday. I think Tenebrae has become one of my favorite Lenten services. I first went to a Tenebrae service with my pastor and little brother when I was in high school at one of the many, many Catholic churches in Rome. I thought it was strange - I'd never been to a service at a Catholic church before, and I was very uncomfortable with the "veneration of the cross." But I like the Tenebrae - and with the candles extinguished until you are in darkness - it makes us uncomfortable, but we were ok being uncomfortable for once.
This morning, I was lucky to have my actor-brother in town for the weekend to perform a monologue as Peter. It is certainly convenient having fairly regular access to a professional actor! My congregation loves him, and I love having him perform at Christmas and Easter.
I hope you all had a wonderful Easter. I did.
You can check out my messages for Holy Week if you are so inclined: Palm/Passion Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Easter Sunday.