Monday, April 18, 2011

Holy Monday

Aaaaand here's Holy Week. That high drama, the pageantry, the darkness. Oh, the darkness.

Yesterday was Palm Sunday, marking Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Thursday we commemorate the institution of the Eucharist (the "Last Supper" which we remember each week during communion). Thursday we also remember the Agony in the Garden and the Arrest. Friday is the trial and crucifixion of Christ. Saturday is the lonely day- we remember the agony and fear and confusion the Apostles felt. And finally Saturday night we hold a vigil, waiting to hear the blessed proclamation of the Resurrection.

The Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week, however, seem empty. Many churches will hold additional services to encourage devotion. There is one special service, Tenebrae (Latin for "Darkness") which consists of Psalms and readings which bring us deeper into the mystery of redemption. It ends in darkness and is one of the few services without a dismissal. A loud noise is all the ends the service. No comforting words. More on this tomorrow after I lead Tenebrae.

But back to Monday.

Holy Monday has no special liturgies in the Western church. It is still a fast day and it gets a special prayer (called a collect), but it does not get a special ritual.

The collect of the day is, interestingly enough, used in Friday Morning Prayer during the rest of the year in the Episcopal Church.

Almighty God, whose dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
May these quiet, strange days bring us peace and life as we walk toward Golgotha to stand watch with our crucified Lord.

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