Monday, March 30, 2009

Passiontide Ceremonies

Where did the Gloria Patri go? Why did the processional crucifix and the altar wall cross get veiled in cloth? Petersen explains.

These ceremonies teach what no modern day chancel drama could (and I say that as one who's written and performed a chancel drama in a chancel...yes, yes, revoco!). Things that have been fairly consistent for a year suddenly disappear. And it's all come upon us suddenly. First we gave up singing "Alleluia" until we sing it either eternally at the Lamb's Wedding Banquet or at the Easter feast. Then we stopped singing the Gloria in Excelsis, the song of the Angels. Then gave up having full bellies. Now we've plunged even deeper into this penitential season.

And we're not done yet. On Maundy Thursday, the altar will be stripped bare (as if to mock us after having been draped again in joyous white paraments!). Good Friday will revel in black and darkness. And Holy Saturday will end with the transition from mourning into joy--from Lent into Easter--as the sun sets and we rejoice in the risen Son.

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