Lent, The Three Days

St Peters by the Sea: Lent Purple Cross

Lent, The Three Days and On Easter and April Fool’s Day Ash Wednesday landed on Valentine’s Day this past month. What a great way to think about Jesus (the best teacher and example of love) and where our hearts are focused. And Easter on April Fool’s Day…that hasn’t happened since 1945! God played a great trick on the devil on Easter. Satan thought it was all over for Jesus, that man full of God’s love and love for everyone. But God laughed at Satan and Jesus raised from the dead to continue the story of God’s promise and God’s love.

We laugh and love our way from Ash Wednesday to Easter as well. The traditional preparation of fasting, almsgiving, and prayer leads us through the 40 days of Lent to the Three Days, the holiest triduum on the Church calendar. This year the Sunday readings during Lent focus on covenant themes. A covenant is an agreement, a promise, made
between God and God’s people. We will be hearing stories and words of promise, blessing, and transformation. We are God’s covenant people and this season of Lent is helping us remember that truth, that promise, given to us in our baptism.

The Three Days are the most important days to come to worship and celebrate God’s covenant with us.

On Maundy Thursday (March 29 this year) we hear Jesus’ new commandment to love one another. As Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, we are called to follow his example, livingnout our baptismal vocation with humility and care for one another. We will share a meal during which we will celebrate Holy Communion, becoming what we eat and drink: the body of Christ, offering ourselves in love for the life of the world.

This year our Good Friday liturgy will be a Tenebrae service. Tenebrae means darkness or shadow and this service allows us to hear readings of Jesus’ passion, death and crucifixion as the candles are extinguished one by one. The service ends in total darkness and then a loud “slam.” There is no final blessing or dismissal and the congregation leaves in silence. The purpose of the service is to help us remember the betrayal, abandonment, and agony of Good Friday, and it is left unfinished, because the story isn’t over until Easter Day.

As our celebration of the Three Days of Jesus’ death and resurrection comes to culmination, we gather on Easter Sunday. We renew our baptismal vows, promising, with God’s help, to live as the body of Christ in the coming year of grace. At the Lord’s Table we meet our risen Lord, as we feast on the food of the Eternal Banquet. We trick the devil with our shouting of alleluias and celebrating the great banquet of God’s victory over death.

Happy Lent, Happy Easter!

Pastor Karen Marohn