Today is Holy Friday. The Western World knows it as Good Friday, but my children like to say “but what is good about it? Jesus died and was buried!” It is good because it fulfills scripture and by His death, burial and eventual resurrection, Death is destroyed. I do prefer the Eastern term of Holy. So this week, I’m not going to be random. In honor of Holy Week, I’m going to make a list of 5 things from Holy Week.
1. This Troparion comes from the beginning of the Bridegroom Matins service:
Behold, the Bridegroom coves at midnight, and blessed is the servant whom He shall find watching; and again, unworthy is the servant whom He shall find heedless. Beware, therefore, O my soul, do not be weighed down with sleep, lest you be given up to death and lest you be shut out of the Kingdom. But rouse yourself crying: Holy holy, holy art Thou, O our God. Through the Theotokos, have mercy on us.
2. This is also from the Bridegroom Service. It’s the Exaposteilarion which means it comes near the end of the service. It makes me cry every.single.time!
I behold Thy bridal chamber, richly adorned, O my Savior, but I have no wedding garments to worthily enter in. Make radiant the garments of my soul. O Giver of Light and save me.
3. Last night at the Holy Friday Matins (yes it is served on Thursday evening) this stood out to me:
All creation was changed by fear when it saw Thee hanging upon the cross, O Christ. The sun was darkened and the foundations of the earth were shaken. All things suffered with the creator of all. O Lord, who didst willingly endure this for us, glory to Thee.
4. My Parish offers about 15 services during Holy Week. No these are not repeat services giving people more flexibility. They are separate services to prepare us for the Resurrection. Sunday Evening through Saturday afternoon, each day has between 1 and 3 services. This is my fifth holy week and no I have never been to all of them. Each service has something special and beautiful to offer. I am particular fond of the Bridegroom Matins.
5. In addition to the services for Holy Week, we have 4 services for Pascha! Again separate services not “pick one to go to as they are all the same.” I know many churches offer multiple Resurrection Sunday services but they are all basically the same and are just trying to accommodate large crowds. These are distinct services with particular purposes. I’ve been to 3 of them regularly. And service isn’t exactly the right word but these four are: The Reading of Acts. The entire book of Acts is read. This is followed by Nocturnes which is done in the dark! Followed by the midnight Paschal Service which includes the Festal Matins and Divine Liturgy. After that we’ll break the fast, go home and get a bit of sleep. We’ll come back on Sunday afternoon for Agape Vespers and huge feast including a treat hunt!
In whatever way you celebrate this weekend, may it be a time of joy and love and laughter!