17 April 2014

The end and the beginning

Tonight is the end of Lent - not the Lenten fast, that's Holy Saturday, but Lent now merges into the Triduum, the Three Days, beginning with the Mandatum (the footwashing) and Last Supper service. Which our parish decided not to do. They had a Seder, but I'd rather celebrate our own tradition rather than steal someone else's.

So we did it ourselves. We did our own Footwashing at home - obviously couldn't have the Last Supper because none of us is a priest, but you don't need to be a priest to wash feet. So we all washed each other's feet, and it was really lovely. I had preceded it by reading the Gospel up until the arrest and Peter's denial - we will pick up the trial and scourging in the morning before the Good Friday vigil at 12.

And we covered all the statues and icons at home (which we do every year), and now all I can see is the black on the wall where the tapestry of Mary hangs, and it keeps drawing my eye like a big black hole. The absence, the emptiness.

I will do a vigil myself because the church isn't doing that either. And tomorrow, the darkest day of the year. I loved the vigils at St James': the silence, the open tabernacle, the candles, and watching the church being stripped of everything at the end of the Last Supper was so powerful - no candles, no altar cloth, all the pictures covered, even the sanctuary light out. When I came for the vigil, even if I had nothing to say to him in the Garden, I was watching. The stripped church felt cold and empty, but the chapel blazed with candles and Jesus was there in the Body and Blood - until 8am when they took it all away and the Empty Time began.

And so, we begin again.

No more blogging until Easter Day now: it is time to enter in, rather than write about it.

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