Triduum – The Three Days; Begins the evening of Holy Thursday in remembrance of the Last Supper, extends through Good Friday and culminates with the Great Easter Vigil. It recalls the passion, death, burial, and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
By the grace of God, our ancient history lessons matched up to fall perfectly during Holy Week. The Passover and Exodus were studied and the plagues were made for our Seder decorations. I was excited/proud/shocked when the kids needed little to know direction for me and just proceeded to craft up the scourge of the Egyptians with dedication. My favorites this year were Tess’s sad animals stricken with pestilence and Philip’s smiling angel of death flying over the homes of the Hebrews and Egyptians.
They stunned me with their leadership with the entire Seder, actually. Philip prepared the marinade for the brisket, glazed and decorated the lamb cake and ironed the table linens. Max ever so carefully hand wrote in cursive each placecard. He and the girls set the table, getting the goblets down from the high, high shelf all by themselves. The girls prepped the Charoset and greens for the Seder plates and they all reminded me “Don’t forget-!” so many times there was no way anything was forgotten.
Bridget joined us for the fourth year in a row – an anniversary of sorts since she first visited the house and really got to know us at her first Seder. I think it says something that she ever came back . . . It was a first for Sabine, too. It was nice to be quiet and still and small though the kids were unsettled until the candles were lit over “This is ALL?! Who else can we invite???”
Tess, as the youngest reader in the house, was charged with reading The Questions. I have never seen her so nervous before. She clarified again and again when it would happen. Would Jac just look at her or would he ask her to read? How many more minutes could she practice? Could she get dressed right away so she could practice some more? Poor girl, the paper was wrinkled and limp by the time the Seder began, she had clutched it so fervently. But she did great and managed “vegetables” and “recline” and “herbs” like a champ.
For the first time ever there was no rush. And I didn’t have to fight with the lamb cake because it behaved beautifully – the Sour Cream White Cake is a keeper! The menu was simple, made ahead and delicious. Really, drop what you are doing and MAKE THE GREEN BEANS. I heartily agree with Sabine when she said, ‘I could eat these all day.”
Brisket: From the Pioneer Woman. She never lets me down. You will want to bathe in the au jus. And trust her when she says “Low Sodium Soy Sauce,” okay? Makes all the difference.
Green Beans: The official name for these is Green Beans with Caramelized Onions and Almonds. Tyler Florence – God bless you for being born and not becoming a stock broker. Or bookie. Or whatever you could have been. I don’t even LIKE green beans and I ate these instead of lamb cake for dessert.
The kids watched me put on mascara (all the fuss I had time for) while I told them it was silly for me to wear it. ‘I’ll just cry it all off anyway,” I told them. And I did. Teenagers as altar servers? The bishop on his knees washing feet? Processing outside, in the dark with Our Lord into the Garden? It gets me every time.
Lent was a mixed bag this year and not in a good way. Like when you get your dad’s sack lunch on a field trip and someone stepped on it and it turns out to be pimento loaf and sweaty cheese and broken plain tortilla chips. Nothing pleasant comes out of that.
But we kept reaching in that darn paper bag over and over again. Hope lived even when we failed at our fasting and paled at our penance.
It felt close and oppressive, mocking and jeering as the crowd on that Friday.
It felt hard and torturous, painful and full of misery like that climb to Golgotha.
It felt bitter sweet, humbling, and like overwhelming mercy straight form the Cross.
Good Friday was good, so very, very good. The congregation was still and somber. We processed up to reverence the cross and as I bent forward to kiss the wood, Gemma patted the beam. My emotion caught in my throat. God is so good.
There was an Eagle Scout court of honor. Eggs were colored along with fingers and clothes and arms. Rapid City was it’s fickle self and poured down rain on this side of town getting my hopes up for a cancelled egg hunt but managed to stay dry at Cathedral. To the egg hunt we went. Naps were had, baskets stuffed, blood shed (more on that later), and yet we managed to make it on time.
Ellie panicked at the sight of the Easter Fire. We waited breathlessly for the Alleluia. We turned giddy during the baptisms. The church smelled of incense and lilies and Holy Chrism and LIFE!
He has risen. Alleluia!