Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Getting close

“In these hymns tonight we begin to glimpse the coming joy, peeping out like crocuses through the snow.”
Frederica Mathewes-Green, Facing East, p. 71

This is where we are now. Pascha* is so close that I can close my eyes and see the candles, hear the songs, taste the food. Several times I have caught myself humming “Before the dawn, Mary and the women,” one of my favorite Pascha hymns. Every time I have to catch myself, to stop and think, “No, not yet.” Now we’re still singing “Behold the Bridegroom is coming in the middle of the night, and blessed is the servant whom He shall find awake and watching.” We have to wait a little longer, hold on until the time for celebration is come. The dark day of the Crucifixion still hangs between us. Although it might sound strange, to skip ahead to the Resurrection would lessen its joy. How can we rejoice if we have not first mourned? How can we process around the church proclaiming the Resurrection if we have not first processed around the church with Christ’s bier, singing a funeral song?

All of this is still to come. For now we are still in the quiet time, catching our breaths after the grandness of Palm Sunday. We have a chance to rest before we plunge into the end of the week, with its continuous services. I’m still going to class, still participating in the world of school and work. Soon I will detach myself and, for a few precious days, immerse myself completely in the life of the church. But for now I watch and wait.

*The Eastern Orthodox word for Easter


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