My favorite service in Holy Week comes on Thursday. Always. It’s not that I don’t love Palm/Passion Sunday with its procession, branches, children’s choir; I certainly do. And it’s not that I don’t love Easter morning with its flowers, soaring organ and brass. It is the most beautiful service of the year.
It’s that if I never experience the darkness, the light doesn’t mean so much.
A lit candle after the power goes out helps us find our way in the dark. But a candle lit in a bright room, even though it may look lovely, is not as important and meaningful. Once a year our worship service takes us to a meal in an upper room where a friend turns traitor, to a garden of hard-fought prayer and then arrest, to a kangaroo court, and to an execution. Once a year, we peer into the abyss and we remember those whose suffering was mirrored on the cross: the oppressed, the dying, the unjustly accused, the deserted, the hopeless. Once a year, we leave the place of worship in dark, ponderous silence.
Yes, we will return in three days to glorious light and joy.
© Melissa Bane Sevier, 2011