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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Our Focus of Lent

Each year, there are aspects of Lenten observance and discipline that I add to our family's Lent (and some I try and then don't repeat). This year's newest addition is making sure that the focus of our Lent season is the Triduum - the Holy Three Days. The Triduum is one of the most ancient parts of the church year, and should be the highlight of it. The trick, for me, is to see Lent as a time of preparation (like Advent is for Christmas) for the Triduum and not allow it to overshadow the Triduum, or the Easter season.

In order to make sure that we do not miss the Triduum as we wrap up Lent and prepare for Easter, we are going to plan well ahead for these three days. This really is key with all my church year observances - plan, plan, plan and then WRITE IT DOWN.

(photo of our Alleluia banners decorated and ready to be unfurled on Easter morning)

Here's my plan:

We will limit visitors to our home and our own excursions. All cleaning and any errands for Easter will be completed prior to Maundy Thursday. Our menus will be planned and shopped for ahead of time including: simple fast day menus for Good Friday and Holy Saturday and special Easter feast dishes and treats.

I'm contemplating limiting all TV, games, videos, etc on these three days, but especially Good Friday. My kids will certainly balk, but I think it will really help us set an appropriate tone for the Triduum. (When I think of watching TV on Good Friday, I'm reminded of the way I felt after 9/11. Television - other than news to see what was happening - seemed wholly inappropriate. I'll never forget how disturbed I was when normal programming resumed.)
  • Maundy Thursday (which is really the last day of Lent and not included in the Triduum) we'll attend our church's service which usually involves footwashing and always communion.

  • Good Friday will be a quiet day and will probably include a Good Friday "Three Hours" service. I'm contemplating offering a children's Stations of the Cross at my home. (I will follow up with those plans as the date gets closer.)

  • Holy Saturday, an a-liturgical day, we rest with Jesus in the tomb and prepare for his Resurrection. We'll dye eggs, prepare some of our special Easter treats, and do some special crafts.

  • Easter Sunday - need I give details? Church, Feasting, Laughter, Music and ALLELUIAS!

My goal is to keep these three days ever in my mind as the high point of the church year - with Easter being the pinnacle, while on the journey of Lent.

Read the rest of this series.