Holy Saturday/Easter Eve

Every day the strangeness gets stranger. For 27 consecutive years, Holy Saturday for me has meant presiding informally at the short proper liturgy of the word with members of the Altar Guild of whatever church I’ve been connected to, and then “puttering” the rest of the day with various chores associated with getting everything ready for the Great Vigil of Easter. Today I did the proper liturgy on Facebook Live (with 44 in “attendance”–so, a record). And my puttering toward the Vigil was by way of scrounging for adaptations and workarounds, being devoid of standard ecclesiastical paraphernalia. I also made a video recording of my Easter homily, which will drop on the diocesan website early tomorrow morning. As soon as it was mostly dark, Brenda and I celebrated the Vigil. We even had an alcohol fire in a wok in our backyard, and an improvised Paschal Candle. I sang the Exultet. Only three prophecies, and no baptisms, of course. It took barely more than an hour. There are moments when the whole effort to maintain some version of our liturgical observances on a miniaturized scale feels kind of silly. But there are other moments when it feels tremendously sweet. For some reason, Form IV of the Prayers of the People has just come alive for me through this experience. So I think it’s meet and right that we, collectively, make the effort. May it please God that we never have to do this again, but in the meantime, I am glad we are trying to maintain the façade. In such a recontextualized environment, we can see more clearly precisely how we have been formed by our habits and practices.

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