We are in the midst of Holy Week, arguably the holiest week of the Christian Year.
Without discounting the significance of Christmas – the gift of the Christ Child, God’s own Son come down to earth, without which none of this week’s sacred events would occur – it is the progression of Holy Week, the Great Three Days (Triduum), and Easter Day that defines us as Resurrection Christians.
As the Christian Church, we annually relive and celebrate the historic traditions of this week.
If the same sequence occurs each year, then why?
In a school chapel service this morning, our bishop-elect, the Reverend Phoebe Roaf, posed the same question, and she gave one of the best answers I have heard.
A native of the Mid-South and a lifelong daughter of the Episcopal Church, she reminded us that when families gather, especially in the South, we tell stories. So, as the Christian family, each year we regale ourselves with the greatest story ever told.
Those of us who grew up in extended families and who attended church weekly (not only families in the South) know this story-telling practice to be the truth.
At annual family reunions, after a huge covered-dish meal, including multiple desserts from which we are almost comatose on carbohydrates, we sit around and visit and do what? (Tell stories.)
Christian families are generational just as any family is generational. At Church of the Holy Communion, we are presently in a massive building construction project that is certainly generational: We are preparing this property and these buildings to serve the generations that will follow, just as those who began these building in 1950 did for us.
Perhaps Holy Week is not the great Christian family reunion per se, but in a sense, I suppose it is.
We gather this week in a number of liturgies to retell the story: Of Jesus’ last supper with his disciples on Maundy Thursday, at which he washed their feet and instituted the Eucharist; of Jesus’ passion in the night that followed and his crucifixion on Good Friday; and of his ultimate triumph over death on Easter Day.
Join us this week as the Christian family gathers to tell the stories and relive the life of Jesus.