O sacred head, sore wounded*
And so we enter Holy Week.
At our church we “re-enact” the Passion Drama during the service on Palm Sunday. Usually I am assigned to be a minor character like a serving girl (“You also were with Jesus the Galilean”) or the Centurion (“Truly this man was the Son of God!”), but this year I was not included at all. (My friend Carla and I joke about this because between the two of us we have been lay readers for nearly half a century, but we are no closer to being the Narrator or some named part than Joyce Meyer. Carla was a serving girl this year.)
I was a lector, however, and got to read a rousing lesson from Isaiah: “The Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; he who vindicates me is near…” and so on. I do love Isaiah.
Sunday night I was planning to watch The Robe on Netflix Watch Instantly, but we couldn’t get it to work, so I watched a large part of Franco Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth instead. I highly recommend it. It reflects, of course, the Roman side of the story and does a nice job of letting them off the hook. But Robert Powell is really great and so are the supporting players. Laurence Olivier as Nicodemus is one of my favorites.
During the week I will continue to read and watch appropriate fare, i.e. I abstained from watching Dancing With the Stars and their Disney-themed episode last night. Believe me it was not much of a sacrifice.
I have signed up to participate in the Good Friday Vigil following the Maundy Thursday service. I will be “waiting in the garden” from 5:00–6:00 a.m.
I have done this before and it is really quite a meaningful exercise. You are alone (with one other person) in the semi-dark of the spooky downstairs chapel with nothing to do but “stay awake for one hour” (see above window) and pray and meditate on Jesus and his sacrifice. This is right up my alley and better than the very public display of look-at-me-washing-someone’s-feet that is Maundy Thursday. To each his own.
Do you have any special plans for Holy Week?
* Traditional Hymn, attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux, trans. by Paul Gerhardt and James W. Alexander–We sang it on Palm Sunday which made me happy, especially my favorite verse:
What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.