THE HOLY TRIDUUM
Beloved in Christ,
Easter is fast approaching, but an integral part of our Easter celebration is the Holy Triduum. Although we cannot observe these Holy Three Days in the accustomed manner, here are some suggestions for observing them at home.
Foot-washing: While obviously we cannot gather or celebrate the Holy Communion, another notable aspect of Maundy Thursday is the Washing of Feet. This can be done at home, with each member of the household washing the feet of another.
Agapē Meal: Families can hold a special evening meal together. Low lighting is best (candle or lamp light, preferably). There is no set menu, but meatless would be ideal: things like cheese, salads, soups, etc. A loaf of bread and a cup of wine should be placed in the centre or at the head of the table. A pitcher of water, basin, and towel might feature prominently, as well (whether or not the foot-washing takes place). Open the meal with a Grace and a hymn or psalm, and read the appointed Lessons between courses. Include a reflection upon the readings, a time of prayer and intercession, and conclude with the singing of a hymn or psalm. The clearing of the table could form part of the ceremony, as well.
Opening: Psalm 116 (or a hymn)
OT: Exodus 24.3-11 or Jeremiah 31.31-34
NT: I Corinthians 11.23-27
Gospel: St John 13.1-17
Closing: Psalm 136 (or a hymn)
The Gethsemane Watch has already been mentioned in a previous message. There are still time-slots available (midnight to 3 AM, and 6:30 to 9 AM) if you would like to sign up for an hour (or even half an hour) of prayer. Call: 204 284-3685 or email: email@example.com
Read the account of Our Lord’s Passion (St John, chapters 18 and 19).
Meditation on the Cross: Create a ‘Prayer Corner’ somewhere in your home. Upon it place a cross or crucifix (or make a simple wooden cross), and some candles. Then spend some time in silent contemplation of Our Lord’s self-sacrifice. You may also wish to include some personal act of reverence (not necessarily a kiss).
Confession of Sin: Take some time in examination of conscience; then make an Act of Contrition, followed by a Confession, and Prayer for Pardon.
Pray: for the Church, for the Bishops and Clergy, for all Christians everywhere, for the Queen and all civil authorities, for the needs of the world, for the sick and suffering, and for those who do not believe in Christ, concluding with the Lord’s Prayer.
The Stations of the Cross: Pictures of the 14 Stations are posted on our website. There is no set form for this devotion, and several are available on-line, including some with children in mind. (Just make sure it is the “Traditional” Stations, or they will not match the pictures).
Alternatively, you could simply meditate silently on each Station: Study the picture. Who are the various people depicted? Note their postures and facial expressions. What must they be feeling or thinking? Where are you in this picture? What prayer should this Station evoke from you?
HOLY SATURDAY/EASTER EVE
A day of quiet preparation. The Church mourns because her Bridegroom has been taken away. The traditional theme of this day is the “Harrowing of Hell.”
Readings: Psalms 16, 30; Job 14.1-14; I Peter 3.17-22; St Matthew 27.57-66.
If the Office is observed in the evening, a commemoration of Baptism may be used (see below).
Create an Easter Garden: You can probably make these with stuff you already have lying around your home, without going out and buying materials. This is a fun activity for children, but adults may enjoy it as well! It could well become a family tradition, starting early in Lent, and using real grass and flower seeds (or bedding plants), which should sprout by Easter.
Take a picture of your Easter Garden and send it to us, so we can post it on the church Facebook page!
Place the Garden in your ‘Prayer Corner,’ perhaps surrounded by smaller houseplants, as the focal point for your prayers during Eastertide.
Commemoration of Baptism: Place a bowl of water (Holy Water if you have it; if not, regular tap water will do) on the table in your ‘Prayer Corner.’ After the recitation of the Creed, have each person make the sign of the cross with the water, recalling the waters of Baptism and our commitment to new life in Christ. If Holy Water is used, you might sprinkle your whole house, as well, using a small leafy tree branch (such as boxwood or cedar).
Learn the Paschal Greeting (“Christ is risen!” Response: “Indeed, he is risen!”) in several languages. This will be useful for future Easter celebrations in church, too!
Ring bells: Tim will be ringing the church bell at 10:30 Sunday morning. If you have bells or other noisemakers (stainless steel mixing bowls work really well), let us ring out our Easter joy together, as we sing or say the ‘Gloria in excelsis’ at 10:30.
Christ IS risen, whether we can be in church to celebrate it or not.
Sing: “Jesus Christ is risen today.”
Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once upon the cross Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!
Hymns of praise then let us sing Alleluia!
Unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia!
But the pains which he endured, Alleluia!
Our salvation have procured; Alleluia!
Now above the sky he’s King, Alleluia!
Where the angels ever sing. Alleluia!
Sing we to our God above Alleluia!
Praise eternal as his love; Alleluia!
Praise him, all ye heavenly host, Alleluia!
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Alleluia!
May you all experience a truly meaningful and blessed Holy Week and Easter.