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Extravagant Change

Yesterday was a good Good Friday.  Without the salvific work of Christ on the Cross, we have no Easter, or hope of saving grace from sin, nor the promise of everlasting life in Him.  

The Three Holy Hours are powerful.  I love the hymns we sing (Ah, Holy Jesus; Cross of Jesus, cross of sorrow; O sacred head, sore wounded; Were you there?; and Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle), the participatory Passion Gospel where we play our role as the crowd whether we want to not, the Veneration of the Cross, and Holy Communion from the reserved sacrament.  Leaving the church is darkness reminds us that the Three Holy Days continue.     

Friday evening, we broke our fast with friends as we gathered in our own upper room to share a meal and watch "Jesus Christ Superstar."  The Norman Jewison movie from 1973 seems to get better and have new surprises for me each time we watch it.  Last night it was noted the effective use of the music soundtrack absent of scene sound (as when Judas is tormented by tanks in the desert) and the interposing of artwork depicting the crucifixion while Jesus prayerfully accepts his fate in the garden of Gethsemane.

This morning, I attended the 'High Holy Liturgy of the Altar Guild' at Grace Church.  On Holy Saturday, it is the only time Morning Prayer is offered corporately in the sanctuary.  The HHL is a name given the occasion by the rector.  The altar and church are still stripped bare from the close of Maundy Thursday, and what little adorned the sanctuary for Good Friday is now gone.  We are in the tomb with Christ and it is dark and devoid of loveliness and life.

But extravagant change is coming.  As I write, the Guild is busy transforming the church, readying the space for worship during tonight's Easter Vigil and tomorrow's full day of Sunday services.  Linens, adornments, flowers, brass and candles will fill the church and make way for the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  The rector (RHM) reminds us this day that the granite High Altar is tomb-like.  It has a marble in-laid block in the top center of the altar where the communion stack is always set.  From the tomb comes the food of new and non-ending life in Christ.  And the day's liturgy gives thanks for the Guild's work in their faithful handling and care of good and holy things.

Extravagant Change.  What Easter is all about.  We wait and watch a bit longer.  Christ soon will rise in Joy and Glory.