I don't think I will have much to post in the next week for Feasts leading up to Holy Week. (Though I am looking forward to John Donne's Feast Day on the 31st. He was one of my favorite poets in college and it would do me good to read him again! Any other Donne fans out there?) I want to make the most of any quiet moments in my day to continue my Lenten practices and the internet can be a big distraction!
I do hope to post on our Holy Week traditions, including Spring Cleaning and Menu Plans, but this year things will look a little different than the past 5 years. When we moved to Kenosha, WI, we attended a wonderful non-denominational church and observed the church year at home or with a few like-minded friends. Now we are attending an Episcopal church again since we've moved to the Philly area and we have the option of actually going to church so I'm not quite sure what we will do.
We've always observed Maundy Thursday at home with my husband doing the foot-washing, our own "stripping of the altar," and Tenebrae service. It has been so intimate and moving to do it in our own "domestic church" that I am torn about how we should observe. Stations of the Cross on Good Friday has been at home too but our church has the Stations around our sanctuary using amazing original artwork of a church member (I hope to write about too) and there is a children's service in the morning. On Friday evening our church is doing Mozart's Requiem but it's too late to even try to bring the little ones and we haven't been able to find a babysitter. So it looks like hubby and I will be fighting it out over who deserves or needs the service more! And then there is prayer around the clock on Good Friday at our church as well.
We've always had my husband's students or church friends who don't have a place to go on Easter Sunday which we'll do again this year but we'll also be able to have my family come too! So many changes, so much good...
I don't want to hold onto "traditions" at the cost of new meaningful ways we can celebrate. I don't want to hold onto traditions so tightly that they become more important that what we are actually trying to celebrate.
I don't want to "celebrate" in a way that means I'm exhausted, irritable, or anxious. Observing the church year with young children can be difficult. They can do little to help; they don't understand when I want to spend a day baking; the baby still needs to be fed!!!
So I'm try to look first at the short-term: what are the most important things God might be trying to accomplish in us this Holy Week and what traditions might help that?
Then I try to look long-term and decide what are the traditions I really want us all to remember when the children are grown. Some activities are fun (resurrection cookies, Jesus Jelly beans, Resurrections eggs, etc.) and wonderful teaching tools but are they things that we will all really hold on to as meaningful?
Well, hopefully writing on the blog will help me to be diligent about planning ahead and to answer these questions well. I look forward to reading others of you write about your Holy Week planning, traditions, special foods and how you balance it all! Easter is the most important day of the church year; I can't wait!