It has been a few months since I last participated in the “One Word at a Time Blog Carnival” and it is nice to be back with these few words on Adventure.
It is interesting that this is the word that comes during the (celebration is not the right word) commemoration of Holy Week. Jesus has asked us to follow Him on His adventure as he heads towards the Cross to die, not for anything He did, but to die for what we have and will do. That’s right, Jesus died for you!
Holy Week in the Orthodox Church is an adventure. If one is to come to all of the services, that is an adventure in itself, one will follow Jesus as He takes His last steps. The services of Holy Week transform us into eyewitnesses and direct participants in the awesome events of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We start the week on Sunday evening with the telling of the coming sufferings by Jesus to His closest friends, those friends by the way that will abandon Him when He needs them the most. We are told next to be ever watchful and prepared for we do not know the day or the hour that our end will come. We read the parable of the Ten Virgins as a reminder to always have oil for our lamps.
We are instructed to move from a life of sin to a life of true repentance as we witness the sinful woman washing Jesus feet with her tears and drying them with her hair. The middle of the week comes the Unction or healing service. All of us need to be healed both in body and soul and we are reminded of this during this service. We are reminded of relationships that need healing as well as the things that make us ill no matter what those things are. We cannot witness the Resurrection if we are ill so healing is important. The Church gives us the Sacrament of Anointing for this purpose. We are reminded that it is the life of prayer that mends the relationship with God and with others. We are also reconciled to God and one another so that they might receive the gift of the Holy Eucharist instituted by Christ at the Last Supper.
Thursday evening we follow Jesus through the Gospel as he takes is final step son the Via Dolorosa. The Cross on which will hang Him who spread out the clouds is carried in procession and with the lights dimmed the Corpus is hung on the cross. The sound of the pounding of the nails will ring through the Church as a reminded of our sins that pierce the flesh of our Savior as He willingly submits to His own death.
Friday we remove the Corpus and have the funeral service for Jesus, the service ends with a solemn procession around the Church and we sing the Lamentations as a reminder of all the He has done and will do for us His children.
Then comes the real start of the adventure, the Resurrection service. The night begins in complete darkness reminiscent of the world that is full of darkness as we, the faithful, await the resurrection. The lone light is brought forth from the Holy Place and each person takes the light back to his or her place. We are reminded that Christ brings the light into the world but it is up to us to carry that light as a witness of Him to all the corners of the world. The Church slowly comes to life as the light moves through, we read the Resurrection Gospel and sing, “Christ is Risen” for the first time and enter the Church that is no ablaze with light as Christ has Truly risen and is ever present in His Church and with His people.
The Adventure does not come to an end but only comes to a beginning. We begin a new year in Christ as we take Him from the Holy Place out into the world to show that Christ has indeed destroyed death by death and that we are all called to a life with him.
Come and enjoy this adventure with us and with Jesus!