Wednesday, 19 March 2008


Holy Week in church doesn't just happen - there are preparations to be made, and slowly the study becomes littered with service sheets for this, resources for that, and various little bits for the other, until it gets to the stage where I've run out of space on the desk and chair, and things have to be transferred to the hall table.

I think it's all there, from Common Worship Daily Prayer on Maundy Thursday morning, through to Stations of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday evening, (though the service sheets for that last have yet to be copied and compiled).

Is it any wonder clergy breathe a sigh of relief when it's all over, and actually look forward to Low Sunday when things get back to normal?

Of course, it doesn't last. We've Ascension Day looming, then Whitsun, and then Trinity.

O deep joy.


  1. Quite remarkably organised! Yet we clergy are never satisfied. When Holy Week and Easter, not to mention other great days, are upon us we hanker after Ordinary Time. Yet half way through the long summer season of Trinity/Pentecost we long for a festival or two to break up the liturgically green monopoly!

  2. A joy - yes - without any doubt, and a privilege to be able to serve over these days, but every year I feel slightly more distanced from the holiness of it all ... which is only to be expected if I have prepared the liturgies.

    It's a bit like someone who cooks a meal for guests, and then when the time comes to sit down and enjoy it, doesn't feel hungry. The fellowship around the table remains, but somehow all the preparation, the making sure everything is as it should be, has taken the edge off the celebration.

    But it will all be wonderful nonetheless.

  3. Of recent years I have felt more spiritually close to the liturgies - as long as they are well-prepared in advance.

  4. Maybe it's something to do with continuity ... perhaps because my celebrations are scattered through 11 churches, each building hosting one service from Monday through to Sunday evening, that I feel a bit distanced from it all. I'm always thinking ahead to where the next event will be, especially tomorrow when I do the 10.00 a.m. Stations, a 2.00 p.m. Evensong, and then 4.00 p.m. hot X buns at the Parsonage. But then the variety was something which attracted me back into rural ministry, and in many ways I find it very fulfilling.

    I think this feeling is all part of the same "loss" story that happened when I began my ordination training. I left the "home church" where I was comfortable with the liturgy that had sustained me and brought me to that point in my Christian walk, and then I had to leave it, never to find it again. I moved off to new churches where traditions and practices were different. My home church also changed, so that when I go back there I have not moved in the same direction as them.

    It's never mentioned when we start our training that we are being asked to leave our roots behind, but it is what happens.

    And if I wasn't ready to accept this, I should have left a long time ago.

  5. Never a truer word written

    My waking thought this morning was, "It's Maundy Thursday - now wouldn't it be wonderful simply to go to church over he next four days?" In other words "Be done to."

    With regard to the abandonment of roots: Yes, we all surely experience this, but I also believe in the rediscovery of things that we once enjoyed, yet left behind somewhere along the way. For me it is a simple vigil before the Blessed Sacrament, something I have not really practiced since I was very young, and which I came to dismiss during my "theological formation."

    In all of this I look at my congregation and think, "They are where I simply used to be." To feed them, as I was once fed, is an incredible privilege.

  6. I feel totally dislocated from the process and I couldn't quite work out why, but you have both been very helpful.

    It is at least in part because I am having to be proactive and not reactive.

    Looking forward to the foot washing though.