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Monday, April 02, 2012

Entering into Holy Week

Last night, Pastor Jan spent some time at church teaching on the traditions and values of Holy Week. As she was speaking about Holy Saturday, I remembered when I experienced the tension she was describing of the 'in-between day' of the Triduum. I was aware of that tension because our family had done something that brought about that awareness.

On Good Friday, we'd decided to make a Lego Jesus to be put on a cross of two boards nailed together.

When we finished and put him on the cross, we melted red crayon and dripped it from his hands, feet and side. It was very natural to talk about why we were doing each part with the kids. The story of his death was easily told as we worked together.

When we were all done, we took a moment in silence; being present to him. Then we took him off the cross and wrapped him in a white floursack towel and laid him in our fireplace (tomb). We closed the fireplace doors and became aware of a feeling of emptiness that remained. The cross leaned against our wall; naked and condemning.

We went to bed that night in somber moods.

The next day was Saturday. I spent the whole day aware of what lay in our fireplace. Craig and I had figured out what we were going to do on Sunday morning; but we had to wait. Wait. Wait. We could not rush Saturday; the day of unknowing, the day of oblivion. I saw the kids periodically stop in front of the closed fireplace. I wondered what they were thinking and feeling.

When Jan taught about Holy Saturday, she said that traditionally people did not light fires so that they could "symbolically enter into the waiting of the dawn's light. The day was one of stillness and grief, of holding to hope even when all is dark." That was the tension I became aware of as we waited for the morning. I felt it, I was awake to it because we had made a Lego Jesus and laid him in a tomb. We could not light a fire; the place was taken.

On Easter morning that year, Craig and I got up early and went down to prepare for the kids. We took Jesus out of the tomb. Craig tranformed him so that he was standing and happy (we had a lego piece that makes a smile or a frown). I laid his wrapping back in the fireplace and opened the doors wide; placing a sign above it that read, "He is not here! He is risen!" We then put candy around the standing Jesus so that whoever discovered him first could share the sweetness with others.

That year stands out to me as particularly sweet and 'real.' I believe it was a formational time for our family. I can not describe it in words, but I just know that we are different than we were before because of what we experienced together.

I wanted to share this story with you so that other families may try this idea at home, if they want to. If you don't have a fireplace, then just find the next best thing. Listen to your heart and let God lead you in how to adapt the idea in your own family.

May you walk through this week with Jesus. Peace.

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