Today, I am inviting you to take a moment to read a short essay written by Caitlin Reilley Beck. This is Good Friday. As a child, in the small Quebec town where I grew up, there was no English Catholic school and so I attended the local English Protestant School. Because of this, I was taught Catechism on Saturday mornings.
One of the Lessons was that Good Friday was a day to contemplate the meaning of suffering in our lives. I feel fortunate to be off work today, to have time to contemplate the suffering in the world in our time, remembering ultimately the joys that help us to bear this.
I read this essay, written by Caitlin, earlier this week. You can almost see and hear the memories she is describing – if you have your own vivid memories of beauty, they will sustain you.
Here is the text, with some clarifications for those who might not understand the places Caitlin is remembering.
After the service of Sung Morning Prayer for Holy Week this morning, I was inspired to look through this stack of Orders of Service from Marquand (Chapel at Yale Divinity School). As usual, I found some gems for singing to myself and for the Stations of the Cross service I am leading on FB live this Good Friday.
One of the best consequences of not worshipping in any Churches this Holy Week and Easter, is that all of the many places and communities of worship that I call home are equally far from me and so equally close. Every year during Holy Week and Easter, I long to hear the bells on the censers in Ukrainian Catholic Churches, watch parishioners old and new wash each other’s feet at St Augustine’s (Anglican Church in Vancouver), smell the Magnolia trees blooming in the courtyard at YDS (Yale Divinity School), practice my suspended cymbal playing with the brass and percussion ensemble at St John’s (Anglican Church) in Ottawa, watch the wax melting into the pavement during the new fire at St Barnabas (Anglican Church, New Westminster), sing the Exultet at some Seaway Church outside Ottawa with Jon, walk the Ecological stations of the Cross with Salal and Cedar, and feel the sand between my toes at a Sunrise service on the beach (And sing Anglican hymns at Agape Vespers with all the awkward kisses). This year, I will once again visit all the services and through them experience the journey of Holy Week through to the Joy of the Resurrection. I am so blessed to have so much to miss.
What are you missing that is a blessing?
(Photo Credit: Caitlin Reilley Beck)