For the past, say, eleven years of my life, Holy Week (the week before Easter) and Easter Sunday have been very busy times for me. Whether I was a choir member, a choir director, a musician, or some type of liturgical assistant, I have “worked” Holy Week and Easter as a laywoman, and I have truly enjoyed it. But I was often tired by Easter morning due to a week of musical performances and services, and then I had to rush home for Easter breakfast with my daughter and then a big Easter feast with my siblings’ families, either at my house or one of theirs.
Clergy experience the same jam-packed Holy Week, the busiest week of the year for many of them. They are the central figures at many services as they lead prayer, preach, approve plans, and oversee services, and they also become exhausted.
As I was faced with many possibilities for Holy Week services and ways to participate, I realized that this was perhaps my last chance for a long time to take it easy for Easter. Next year and probably the year after, I will be a seminary intern at a church, and interns are very busy during Holy Week. After that, if I become ordained, I will be one of those hard-working priests during Holy Week. This was my last chance to take it easy.
So I did. Well, wait: I did respond to my rector’s call for parishioners to deliver short reflections on the Seven Last Words of Christ, and on Good Friday, I delivered a short reflection on “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” I also went to a Maundy Thursday-like service on Wednesday evening in Marquand Chapel. And then, on Easter morning, I simply went to church and enjoyed it. It was a luxury to sit back and receive the benefits of others’ diligent planning, practice, and delivery of bulletins, music, sermons, food, name tags–all the background work that goes into making worship special for the rest of us.
I look forward to being responsible for making Easter worship special for others in the coming years, but on this sunny Easter day in New Haven, I let others feed me. It was great.