• Since I served at the Maundy Thursday Mass, I got to watch the foot washing of our congregants — our Rector wanted us to be close by if anyone needed more towels, water or help getting up. The tender love and care that was displayed was very moving. We have some experienced foot washers.
  • The Watch was a success, thanks be to God; someone was with Jesus the entire night. Some even popped in for an hour or a few minutes that weren’t even signed up. Our side altar had twelve large candles around it and the large palm branches from Sunday — not to mention our homemade Hearse of 15 candles for the Tenebrae. Next year, I’m shooting for twenty on the Altar and a canopy.
  • I was proud that we only got wax on the cement floor in one spot. And a large spot on my cassock.
  • At our midnight Tenebrae, our “noise” (the rubrics are delightfully vague) at the end of the service was a cacophony from the organ will all the stops pulled in the manner of St. Thomas Fifth Avenue. I knew it was going to happen; I knew when it was going to happen; But it still scarred the bejebus out of me. It was like a horror film in our almost-pitch black nave.
  • During the Watch, I was the positioned at the front door in the narthex through the night. I had some great and holy conversations with people as they were leaving. Several of them ministered to me in ways that I think they’ll never even know. One even brought me a feast of Taco Bell at 3 AM.
  • I did miss the Speed Rosary at the Watch, since the person who led it last year has since moved to the great northern wasteland that is Minnesota. I miss him and his wife, too.
  • At Morning Prayer, we prayed Psalm 22. It was the third time I’d prayed it in twelve hours: the choir chanted it at stripping of the altar and we said it at Tenebrae.
  • At the Good Friday liturgy, I helped carry in a ginormous, heavy cross of rough-hewn wood. The wood left on my cassock a lot of dust, splinters, etc. I still had that huge spot of wax on my cassock by my knee. I’m sure I looked like quite the sight when administering the chalice.
  • The cross weighed less than it did last year. Perhaps we sinned less this year?
  • At the Good Friday lunch at a local restaurant, a parishioner asked me, “Today is a fast day, right? That means only clear liquors, white wine (no reds) and light ranch, right?”
  • I sing tenor with a small (mostly) a capella ensemble at a local Baptist church. We sang for their Tenebrae service Friday night, including the Lacrimosa from Mozart’s Requiem. Dang, we were good and the group is one of the best kept secrets of Johnson City. I love singing with them.
  • Sneaking back into the Church on the evening of Good Friday to pray Evening Prayer on my own has become a tradition of mine. The empty and open tabernacle, no vigil light and a ginormous cross on the floor in a Nave completely stripped of its beauty is one of the frightening and loneliest things you’ll ever experience.
  • On my own, I successfully removed that large streak of wax off my cassock using an iron and a brown paper bag, after being told how to do it by one of our Altar Guild ladies. I think this means I am officially a High Churchman: not only can I get wax on my cassock, but I can also get it off.
  • The Easter Vigil is my favorite service of the year. I was charged with chanting the Exultet. For the first half I kept thinking, “Are you staying on pitch? Are you communicating your consonants? Are you projecting your voice through your head? Are you taking your time? You need to take your time.” About somewhere in the middle, I actually start praying those beautiful words. The consonants will take care of themselves.
  • I also thought half-way through, “I really wish I had a book light. Or a candle.”
  • As Subdeacon, I was also charged with starting the holy fire. After several failed strikes to get a spark to catch on the steel wool, we resorted to a candle lighter. As a friend told me after the service, they chuckled to themselves the entire time and thought, “Ah, Andy, you’re not a Boy Scout.” It is true, I’m not; I am an avid indoorsman who marvels at air conditioning.
  • The baby that was baptized was appropriately cute and only cried when it would be the cutest – as babies are wont to do.
  • We sprinkled the congregation on the way back from the font using our newly purchased aspergillium and a freshly-polished brass bucket our intrepid thurifer found and polished before the service. My parish seems to be home to lots and lots of brass. I was told that since most of the congregation had turned back towards the altar, they were quite surprised to suddenly find water violently thrusted upon the back of their heads. And they looked up to the ceiling, because parts of the roof have been known to leak.
  • I was called “persnickety” when it came to liturgy — may be the highlight of the whole thing!

A blessed and happy Easter to you, my friends and readers. Christ is risen! Alleluia!

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