At Pilgrim Church and across the globe, Christians in the Western tradition (predominantly Catholic and Protestant) reentered the story of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection during Holy Week. (The Eastern Orthodox Church will celebrate later this spring.) Our Palm Sunday service marked Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem but also moved us into the events of the week that led up to Thursday. Children and adults re-told the happenings of Maundy Thursday and shared communion with one another in an intimate, quiet service. On Good Friday we joined with choirs and worshipers from Peace UCC and Glen Avon Presbyterian churches to solemnly mark the crucifixion; this beautiful service can be viewed on Pilgrim’s YouTube channel. And on Easter Sunday, we sang and laughed and embraced the power of resurrection together (this service will soon be posted on YouTube as well).
We observe all these “extra” liturgies (and remember that liturgy literally means, the work of the people) so that Easter and resurrection will resonate more deeply within us. Like most life experiences, we do not get more out of it than we are willing to put into it. The poet Wendell Berry captures the work of getting to resurrection as observed in nature’s springtime. May it bless you, especially when you find yourself in the midst of the hard work:
What hard travail God does in death! / He strives in sleep, in our despair, / And all flesh shudders underneath / The nightmare of His sepulcher.
The earth shakes, grinding its deep stone; / All night the cold wind heaves and pries; / Creation strains sinew and bone / Against the dark door where He lies.
The stem bent, pent in seed, grows straight / And stands. Pain breaks in song. Surprising / The merely dead, graves fill with light / Like opened eyes. He rests in rising.