March 27, 2016
“We are witnesses of all that he did . . . .
This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible,
not to all the people, but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance . . . .”
Acts 10:39a, 40–41b
“Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!” And our Liturgies are filled with the sound of Alleluias and triumphant brass, pulling out all the stops (figuratively and literally). This can be a challenge for liturgists, musicians, cantors, choirs, and congregations who have been involved in the entire Holy Week.
A friend of mine speaks lovingly about completing the final Easter Liturgy and going home to enter into “the Paschal Coma” for several days of recuperation. In fact, if we are playing the umpteenth Liturgy on Easter Day, it is easy for our minds to drift to Easter dinner, how tired we are, the looming tax deadline, or any of the things that we have been putting off as we have been consumed by Easter preparations. But for other members of our assembly, it is their first time stepping foot into church this weekend—or since Christmas. Our challenge is to make the last Liturgy of the day as fresh and as exciting as the first “Alleluia” sung at the Easter Vigil.
I know how hard I work this week, but I always find it awe-inspiring and amazing to look out and see my “touchstones” in the faith community, who have been there on Holy Thursday, Good Friday (the service and stations as well), the Easter Vigil, and once again on Sunday morning. This is my ministry, my busy season, but I am paid for my time here. When I look at the energy my volunteer choir has devoted since January that culminates in these moments and all the time the lectors, ushers, Ems, and other ministers have put in, I am truly humbled. Yet I recall once more that our sacrifices are nothing compared to God’s great gift to us all.
We are and have been “witnesses of all that he did” and how blessed are we because of it. May we ever remain grateful. Sometimes we are so consumed by the details of making the Liturgies happen that we are not as present to what is taking place as we might be. Each of us certainly deserves a good long nap and some down time, but we should be sure to pray and reflect upon all that we have witnessed this week.
O God, who created the earth and set it on the seas,
you have been with us from the beginning, you who suffered and died for us.
O loving Paschal Victim,
we offer you our hearts, our Alleluias,
our weary voices, and our aching feet and backs.
May we never tire of singing your praises, Christ our Lord. Amen.
Jill Maria Murdy
Saint Frances Cabrini Parish
West Bend, Wisconsin