What a difference the sun makes! I hope you have been able to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air today.
My latest printed subscriptions came this past week, I still get a few magazines as gifts and with memberships at various places. Most of them featured articles about getting our homes ready for Spring. That got me thinking. Our Altar Guild faithfully does a wonderful job of dressing the church for Holy Week every year. Sadly, this year, we won’t be able to worship and see the changes of color together. But, what if we did something in our homes?
And once I started thinking about it, I came up with a few ideas that maybe you could do in your homes, too.
First, this Sunday is Palm Sunday and Passion of Our Lord. We are still draped in purple. To recall the triumphant entry into Jerusalem on a donkey, make some palm branches of your own. There is a delightful craft for children here. I have also seen ideas on the internet about trimming some branches from your own yards and making a bundle of them and hanging them from your front door.
Second, find a few candles and light them during our worship times this week. Though we don’t gather on Wednesday nights, I find myself drawn to Spy Wednesday–the evening tradition has it that Judas betrayed Jesus. However, before you jump to conclusions, I use this night to remember that Jesus came to save all. We are told many times he loved all of disciples, and this included Judas. And, we are reminded that if Jesus can love and forgive Judas, then he can certainly love and forgive us. On Wednesday, I will definitely light a candle–grateful that Jesus’ grace is not for a select few, good people who always do the right things but for people who are messy, make mistakes, cause problems, and fail often. Amen?
Our brother and sisters in the Orthodox Christian tradition call their homes “little churches.” Did you know that? They do. They set up mini altar-like areas in their homes with pictures, items, scripture, etc. that they will then pray with and use in their daily living. In my office, I have an icon from Turkey of Michael, the archangel of the Lord. I don’t pray to the icon, no, but having him at my left side while I sit at my desk is deliberate. Michael, defender of the Lord, is a reminder to me that defending our faith now requires work and commitment.
What items do you have around your home that speak faith to you? Pull them together on a table or shelf. Bring them front and center this Holy Week.
On Maundy Thursday, have a meal and invite Christ to come as your guest. Our traditional reading for Maundy Thursday is centered around a meal. Make your favorite foods, and ask for Christ’s presence at your table. Welcome others to join you, virtually! Call a friend and eat together.
Good Friday, why is this day good? I promise to address that in my homily at our service on Good Friday at noon. But on Friday, it is a good day to pair down the decorations, to eat a simple meal, and think about the events of the day and the long wait the first believers had before Easter morning.
And on Sunday, if you have access, go outside and greet the morning and the coming flowers. These warm days are making flowers come alive. Just as Jesus came alive on that morning and conquered death so that we, too, may have Eternal Life. Still dress up for worship! Why not? Get out your best dishes, whatever they are, and your favorite colors and enjoy the festival of Easter in its fullest. Listen to music that brings you joy and hope. And if its your tradition, color some eggs and enjoy the rituals of Easter, even during these challenging times.
However you do celebrate, I pray you do it as fully as able!
Blessings to you and your loved ones.
I have to go to the basement now and pull out my Easter items to use in my own home.
See you at worship!