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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Holy Week Prep Party -- Maundy Thursday Edition

We are deep into Holy Week now, with the darkest nights upon us. During this sacred time, many of us are juggling multiple demands and multiple texts. Are you preparing for a Maundy Thursday service? Thinking through a Good Friday service (or services)? Grappling with the Easter texts? Trying to prepare special meals and celebrations for your family or friends in the midst of it all?

It can be a discombobulating time internally as we prepare multiple celebrations. How do you prepare to preach Easter when you are at the moment trying to observe Maundy Thursday? If you are also preparing to host an Easter meal for your family, or even just needing to prepare a dish to take to celebrate with others, how do you balance the practical demands involved in that kind of preparation with the daunting demands of leading people spiritually through this holy time?

It can be a tough season! Let's don't go it alone! Join us in the comments section to work through texts, prayers, lessons, recipes - whatever is on your plate! Share your burdens with us, and we will shoulder it all together. By listening and encouraging each other, we can virtually wash each other's feet, and, in doing so, perhaps help prepare each other for our own fresh encounters with the deep mysteries of our faith.


  1. One of the most difficult aspects of this week is that my husband, a pastor also, and in a different church, is so focused and preoccupied (he's an introvert) that I can have very little conversation with him (I'm an extrovert). During Holy Week we simply pass in the night. Our Holy Week prep takes us away from each other more than any other time of the year. And we don't get to share any of the services with each other. Someday we hope to serve together!

  2. Our Good Friday service does not have a sermon so I'll work on Easter after Maundy Thursday is written.

    I will have two different ones for Easter. One more of a meditation/devotion for sunrise. Then the other for the main service.

    I have a hard time writing them "out of order" but sometimes that's what needs to happen.

    I'm up late tonight working on it because I have a church member dying and don't know what my time will be tomorrow. But, since I am yawning more than writing now, I'm heading to bed.

  3. I'm up tonight! I decided I wasn't going to bed tonight until I am completely done with my Easter sermon and bulletin for the tradiional service. We have another totally different service, too, but I'll work on that later. I just have to come up with the story-telling part. More story-telling than preaching, and finding a way for kids to play drums along with my story-telling - - sort of like the old "We're going on a bear hunt" game, but without the rhyme. Anyway, I'm not going to bed until the Easter sermon is done.

    I find that way ahead of the real deadline it takes me AT LEAST twice as long to write a sermon. Also my "voice" is completely different. I don't know if it's better, worse, or neutral, but it's completely different. I also don't know if I like it. I'll post it tonight when it's done.

    After that I just have piddly details to double check for MT tomorrow, and I want to arrange to take MT on the road to a member and her husband sometime tomorrow. She had a cancer removed from the tip of her nose, but it went kind of deep, so in the end she had pretty reconstructive surgery on her nose. She won't be coming out for the service, so I'd like to take the service to her.

    Tomorrow night I plan to do another stay up all night until I finish for the Good Friday sermon. Then I'm done, and can essentially chill Friday and Saturday.

    I booked a facial for Monday afternoon. I've never had one before, but Songbird inspired me to do it and I am FIRED. UP.

  4. Monnie, that does sound lonely for you; I hope that you can find some sense of company here, at least.

    She Rev, I totally know that difference in voice; it happens to me too, and then when the hour approaches, I look at what once seemed so good and say, "What was I thinking??"

    I am giving thanks right now; the power supply on my laptop is dying, but after many tries I managed to resuscitate it long enough to get my MT and Easter Day sermon notes e-mailed to myself, to be retrieved on any computer. I swear these machines know it is Holy Week; by now I should've learned to back up to an alternate source every 3 minutes...

    Had a very fun evening out with older son, much needed to inject some positive interaction into a relationship that has been tough lately. Really good for both of us, and a great break in the midst of this week's work :-)

  5. Maundy Thursday done, finally, which is good as worship begins in just under 2 hours.
    Good Friday is mainly done, looking for a prayer of confession, and a reflection/sermon - so that will be after tonight's service.
    This year I was hoping to be much further advanced with Easter day [2 services] than I am, but as usual it is a struggle to write Easter Sunday until after I have finished Good Friday prep.

    Pumpkin soup for dinner tonight, feel free to join us.

  6. As I mentioned on Monday I have the unbelievable anguish and unbelievable privilege of living holy week with jesus in a new way that is directly redemptive suffering--Dignity USA and Dignity Dayton and the RC and TEC meant it for evil but God/dess meant it for good. I have been balancing my work as theologian and bishop with care of my children and care of myself. And the lies quoted in the excellent Dayton Daily news article were the last straw after my PTSD got triggered by the vicious bullying in the basement of Christ Episcopal Church during Palm Sunday mass. It's hard but heals me knowing I am helping protect and heal the vulnerable--especially Ellis and his living victims whom we need to appeal to step forward--Steven Cook's death was premature so most should be around. So I asked my husband to take me to the ER to be evaluated for hypomania and mania. Please pray for me and my family and my care team and especially for my brother Ellis who needs help and reached out for it at last summer's Dignity convention but was betrayed by mark matson, along with the adults and children of every chapter.

    The excellent Dayton Daily News article contained horrific quotes from Dignity if you can parse them. They are still saying that it's okay if just one child was abused--ie the daughter of my former professor colleagues at UD. And adults aren't in danger--but this is living proof they--I am. also said that it didn't matter if an admitted sex offe I don't know if her pareThe LBC dynamics are cult like and thus and they are what is putting my husband and I in this position. The good side is that the lies were so egregious that the truth can now come out.

  7. Oh Monnie, what an exercise in spousal survival skills! Blessings upon you.

    I still have some Communion liturgy to write up for tonight's Maundy Thursday and my prayers and Scripture to print out for tomorrow night. Easter sermon is here and there in bits and pieces.

    I also am leading our Presbytery worship next Tuesday so I have some details to pull together for that.

    Food wise, no big Easter shindig here, but we are going to try a recipe for Bleu Cheese burgers and see if they are good enough for a party we are having NEXT weekend. Looking forward to firing up the grill!

  8. Good Friday finished and printed. speaking about Love. Good Friday isn't about us, it is about God's love for us.
    making tea , whatever variety you like, then bed.

  9. Good for you Pearl, blessings upon you!

  10. I only have MT sermon to finish. I'm about halfway done and have 11 hours to finish, so it should be ok.

    The trick is to not get distracted by other things....

  11. It's a long day, so I had planned a later departure for the office than usual...but then my spring break-ing daughter got into the shower I have been on hold. My turn now!
    Laura, you are in my prayers.
    Monnie, you are, too.
    Well, really, all of you.

  12. Finished the Easter sermon at 3:30 am. Praise God!

    I'm just hoping there aren't too many distractions at the church today. Ha ha. The bulletin is just missing the titles of special music. I didn't have that info at home.

    Once I make sure I have all the liturgy in order for MT I hope I have time to get the GF sermon started. My plan is to stay up as long as I need to to get it done tonight so I'm not juggling it when I have all three kids home tomorrow. This can be done!

  13. As I unpack from my recent move and settle in to begin a new call in 11 days, I will hold each of you in my prayers: those suffering, those dying, those tending to them, those preparing to preach, those walking a lonely path, those over worked and already tired, and every one else. Many blessings on this holiest of weeks.

  14. I'm definitely feeling the strain of my first Holy Week with significant liturgical responsibilities - lots of bulletins (etc) to pull together, print,...

    Good Friday and Easter bulletins are (mostly) ready. Passion reading (bulletin allowing for participating) is ready. Today there are two services (diocesan service, and Maundy Thursday in a neighbouring parish) and my goal is to finish my Good Friday sermon.

    But first things first: coffee!

  15. "yes" to "all of the above"...questions, that is. sitting here trying to remember what not to forget...
    blessings all, and thanks, RevGals make my life and work easier and better...

  16. Good morning, all! Wow, you gals have been busy already! I had hoped to write earlier this morning, but I was busy getting a couple of first graders ready for school. Today is a Big Day for them, as they are acting in their first school play. They are both lions in the story of the Little Red Hen. Did you know there were lions in that story? Me neither! I can't wait to go see them in the play.

    Monnie, what a difficult thing, to be isolated from your spouse by the duel demands of your churches, at a time when sharing the load would be such a blessing. Thinking of you!

    Laura, what a sad and difficult thing you are dealing with. It sounds like your husband is a good support for you during this time; I hope the blessing of that will help sustain you in these days. I will hold you in prayer for sure.

    Thinking of all the rest of you, too, and giving thanks for this wonderful community. My pastoral load this week isn't as bad as it could be - I'm serving as liturgist tonight and midday tomorrow and on Easter, and offering meditations for our Tenebrae service tomorrow night (but those are already written). I have other writing demands that are pressing on me, as well as family and Easter prep obligations. My biggest burden right now, though, is one I can't write about publicly, but I would appreciate your prayers, as it is weighing me down.

    Okay, I have to run. I have good coffee, some almond rugelach, and some really good cheese. Help yourselves!

  17. I have the Good Friday plan almost complete, and I think I've decided to go bulletin-free...because it was probably confusing then, so a little wondering about what's happening next won't hurt anyone. at least, I'm hoping not. We'll still be following the basic outline of any other worship service, so it won't be too too weird.

    So that leaves me with tonight...I have only the vaguest idea and a few youth volunteers...which means that sometime in the next, oh, 6 hours or so I need to turn that into a real live plan that I can actually pull off. We'll see how that goes....

  18. Monnie--hope you and your husband can find some Easter in the Eastertide.

    Stephanie--what kindness you bring to the congregation you serve.

    Haven't even thought about Easter--Maundy Thursday remains just an idea waiting to be developed--only five hours left to write unless I give up swimming yet again.

    Read something by Elie Wiesel that got me thinking--All of us should live as if we met death in Auschwitz for then we will approach life with compassion. Got to thinking about walking the Triduum living as if we were there or living as if we were sharing bread with Jesus and Judas, as if we were Peter waving away Jesus' and the bowl of water, etc. Not sure where to go with this but think it has possibilities.

    Am missing Stations of the Cross in the Tenderloin.

    Tomorrow a day long pilgrimage to Chimayo and then time to turn my thoughts to Easter.

    How do you pronounce "Triduum"?

  19. So glad to know folks are here. I will keep checking in today. Just a quick THANKS for all of you and your work today! We are never alone, are we?

  20. Triduum: Tri (i as in it) do - uhm

  21. Alli, My novice mistress would have said "trd-u-um". So I guess you can take that as gospel. She was a Latin scholar who went on to be a canon lawyer. :>)

    I am having an emotional triduum. I have been really sick for almost a month and my partner starts chemo for breast cancer next Wed. We have been to dr's offices almost every day for two weeks.

    We are told that the prognosis is good but it is the anticipation of being sick and weak, or unforseen complecations that face both of us. I really feel like I am walking the Via Crucis and standing at the foot of the cross this week. But the real fear is that there isn't going to be a Resurrection on Sunday.

    I am almost unwilling to attend Holy Week services tonight simply because it is all too real.

    My prayers are all with you this week because I know the amount of work you are putting in. Peace to you all and may the grace of the Holy Spirit decend upon your preparations and your journey this week.

  22. I just finished revising a "sustainable" Maundy Thursday sermon for tonight's service. Now I need to work on GF, Easter Vigil and Easter morning. The challenge will be to write two different sermons on the Matthew gospel ... I could've chosen John for Sunday, but it's not that different in the long run.

    I'm thinking tomorrow (GF) is going to look at how "joy is all the more joyful when we have known sorrow," inspired by this beautiful post.

    I'm not feeling the "holy" so much myself this week; still hoping it will come. Prayers for strength for all of us as we move through the Triduum.

  23. The link in my last post doesn't seem to work; try this one.

  24. i feel particularly mellow... resurrection came after loss of marriage, last year it came very quickly after my mom's death... this year, no personal drama now, and that has helped a great deal.

    to those of you who find real life colliding with holy week... prayers to you!

    off to walk the dogs on another rainy, gray-skied day, with winter temps. i shall pray for you as we walk...

  25. Prayers for Muthah+and partner and for all of you working this week to bring The Word to the rest of us.

  26. Praying for and with you all as you prepare to minister to others. May you have space and grace for worship as well; may you be ministered to also.

    Special prayers for Monnie, Laura, Muthah and J, and the Vicar's people.

  27. Earthchick, Muthuh, prayers for you as you carry your own particular crosses right now.

    I'm trying to convince myself that doing everything but writing sermons is actually useful in preparing for the sermons. I'm so into this denial that yesterday I vacuumed the coils under the fridge! Good thing, too, as they were covered with 1/2" of dog & cat hair...but I'm not sure this was the time to be doing it (Earth Day tomorrow, right? I was doing my bit. Yes, that's it!).

    I have some delicious carrot-pineapple muffins to offer as food to go with thought.

  28. Betsy, you are a better woman than I! Procrastination has some positive effects, huh? The words will come--we are promised that.

    Thanks, for the prayers, Sistahs.

  29. I succeeded in buying candles, and it looks like a lot of the details are in order. Waiting for the monthly Senior Lunch to be over so we can reset the room for tonight's supper. Then I'm going to try and get away for a couple of hours before returning.
    We really haven't rehearsed, so I'll be chatting with the readers about the service during the supper. As I told my much more perfectionist teenager (who is one of said readers), it will be a happening!

  30. Mutha+ and partner - prayers ascending.

    I have now spent more time on Maundy Thursday this year than the last three Easter's combined. As you know, the more people you involve...

    Anyway, I'm not looking at it again until tonight and Good Friday liturgy is ready to print out after another check on it tomorrow.

    Heading home for a late lunch and to pack the boy up for a 2 night stay at his Dad's. I won't see him again until Saturday afternoon which is a :) for him and a :( for me.

    So thankful for this group and praying for those who are staying just ahead of the due by times. I don't have the stamina for that any more.

  31. Hello everyone. Big hugs and prayers for Earthchick and Muthah, and for all of us.

    Working away on a Maundy Thursday sermon that I starting outlining on my phone in the waiting room at the dentist. Got a clergy gathering at 3 and the service at 7 tonight. At least I remembered (just in time) to get the bread! Still have to gather the other items (towel stole, oil for anointing, psalm to chant) before tonight.

    Fortunately Good Friday is in another's hands, and Easter bulletins are done, but the Easter sermon is not even started or even thought about yet. Plus there are still plenty of shut-in visits to be done.

    I am seriously questioning what made me think it would be a good idea to leave this call right after Easter. Apart from the logistical stuff that is stressing me out, this also means a lot of "lasts" are coming up that will be emotional. So that's my Triduum.

  32. semfem, I hear you! prayers for you as you move through this time...

    and, ditto the others and the prayers ascending for various concerns, health and stress, and otherwise.

  33. Lots going on in lots of arenas around here. Prayers for all of you in your personal and professional Good Friday moments, prayers that Resurrection and new life will come.

    As for me, I haven't touched anything since Tuesday. The hubby and both girls have been sick (tummy bug for 2 of the three, head cold for 2 of the three...yes that means one of them has both bugs). I'm still well, but worn out.

    And Monnie-my husband is a pastor too. I'm an introvert, though, so it's just the single parenting that is a struggle for me this week. Blessings to you.

    I think I've figured out the bulletin for the supply gig, and I'm leaning pretty hard toward the sustainable sermon route for Easter Sunday.

    Easter dinner? No idea. Company of the family variety is coming, hopefully they will pitch in.

  34. We all can do this! No matter what happens between now and Easter morning, Christ will rise/is risen!

    That said, I think I'm as set as I can be for everything church-related the next few days. Oh, except washing my robe which I'm not wearing either tonight or tomorrow, so I have time.

    Going to rest a bit now before tonight's events. I'm 36 1/2 weeks pregnant (my first was born just shy of 36 weeks) and have been worried all pregnancy that I'd miss Holy Week! So far, so good but I still feel like this baby's going to come before due on May 17th. So 'sustainable sermon' for Easter is tweaked, no sermon at either of two services tomorrow. And trying to do as little extra as possible!

  35. Tough week for physical lows and emotional highs. God's blessings on you all.

    I was headed to the gym, but got so hot cleaning, that I just kept cleaning which I REALLY needed to do. I have most of my words for this evening. I just need to figure out what to feed family, and shower, and maybe walk the dogs.

    a bit more editing, I think. AND I had to break down and make some more coffee.

  36. Hi gals! I've been away from the computer more than anticipated - long hospital visit, school play, now about to go pick the kids up from school - and suddenly I'm feeling underprepared for tonight's service! (even though my part is small) Oy.

    Thank you for the prayers. And Muthah+, I am thinking so much of you and your partner, with prayers.

  37. This comment has been removed by the author.

  38. I didn't plan a service for tonight, and now I'm missing it. We do have a service for tomorrow night that doesn't involve a sermon. It is a dramatic reading (found on the internet)of the journey to the cross and then to the tomb from the centurion's point of view. I have a powerpoint (borrowed) of artwork to go with each stage.

    Today I have written my meditation/homily for Sunrise service and about 2/3 of my sermon for the big Easter Service. Bulletins are underway, but need work.

    I will make a hospital run in the morning (30 minutes each way) then finish bulletins. Printing tomorrow afternoon and preparation for evening service.

    This afternoon, I need to write a script or notes for a short video my husband and I will be making at manBoy's school. They have asked all the parents of seniors to do this. Even though I'll not be Maundy Thursdaying tonight, I believe it will be a spiritual experience as we recall our joy upon his sudden arrival in our lives via adoption with less than 24 hours notice and all those growing up years in between.

    Prayers of blessing for all of you who face these Holy Days in times of personal struggle and for the rest of you as well.

  39. The Holy Spirit snuugled up close to me last night and helped put all my MT thoughts in order... I ma just now getting them on paper. After that I can think about Saturday night Vigil.

    Prayers to all - if I see Muthah+ tonite, I'll pass along hugs!!

  40. Nap taken, sermon done and printed! Bring on Maundy Thursday!

    For tonight, my sermon theme is remembering and what it means to really remember. It can be read here.

    Prayers to everyone running this Holy Week marathon!

  41. It's nice to finally sit and read through all of your posts. I am in a lull before the Maundy Thursday "Blessed Supper" with youth and their families. I wrote the script, which is very simple, and the kids/actors are bringing the food (they wanted to!) so we'll see how it all comes together.

    "Jesus" is doing the miracle of water to wine after "his mother Mary" (one of the disciples) comes to him saying the wine is running out (right before Communion). I was (way back when) a science major so I am especially thrilled by this little trick, which I'm sure many of you have tried long ago.

    I think I'm excited about this! GF and Easter bulletins are completely done and the funeral for today's death will not be this weekend. Just two sermons to go ...

    Hugs and prayers and peace to all of you!

  42. Sharon, that sounds great!

    Jan, thank you for sharing that poem! I loved it.

    How are the rest of you doing? Hanging in there?

    I have some blue corn tortilla chips and fresh avocado to share, but hurry before I eat it all up!

  43. Ramona, your sermon for tonight is great...and I hope you don't mind if I borrow a bit of the idea, because it gave me that piece that is currently missing from mine. I hope you will consider yourself to be a part of a small miracle I really needed right now!

    Easter sermon is well underway. The bottom line is that "Christ is risen!" doesn't have modifiers. Christ is risen for every single one of us, no matter what. That pairs up nicely with my "Crazy, the Lord!" story that I mentioned earlier this week, because it really is crazy, by human standards, not to restrict the resurrection power to a group of, y'know, "better" people...

  44. Hey hey, y'all! Anyone still here partying? I'm on my way to our service in a bit, just wanted to check in. Unfortunately, I finished all the chips and avocado myself.

    Wish there were some way we could all share the bread and the cup tonight! I will carry you all in my heart as I commune.

  45. Good Friday morning here, back from worship, and starting on Easter Sunday. In Australia today is a public holiday, and it is very quiet. On many public holidays, shops are open, but very few shops are open today.
    After Maundy Thursday communion service last night, than Good Friday service this morning, both reflective, it feels strange to move on to Sunday, but I need to get the hymns out today, and the liturgy to the Data projection person tomorrow morning. And I am planning a nap this afternoon.

  46. This is my first Holy Week in my new parish. As I was stressing about any number of things, the server leaned over and said, "Perfection is God's enemy." I don't like having one foot in Holy Week and the other in Easter (practicing what I will be chanting, preaching, etc.) But there you go. In the midst of it all, I watched a young boy wash the feet of an elderly member, and I thought, "Ah, this is what love looks like." Just my ramblings.

  47. Back from Maundy Thursday and plan to stay up until Good Friday is finished. Easter stuff is all done, so this is my last piece. I was the only reader for the Tenebrae type service so I read MT 26-27 myself in 7 parts. I didn't practice, so I don't remember the last time I read it all myself and out loud. It was awesome.

    So, now on to Jesus who could save himself, but didn't. Jesus who joined us in as death like ours, so that we could raised in a resurrection like his. Jesus' whose most loving action was emptying himself that we might have full lives. Good Friday is "God's Friday" and it reveals to us the depths of God's love, that even though he could have resisted at any moment, Jesus goes with us into our deepest despair. (This is how you successfully avoid substitutionary atonement on Good Friday! Too bad the choir is making up for everything I'm l purposely leaving out.)

  48. Hey there, chickies! It's been wonderful to party with you today, but this chick is pooped now. I'm going to have to call it a night.

    Hope y'all continue to party on, though I'm guessing that the really late night partying won't happen until Saturday. Blessings on all y'all. Last one up, get the lights?

  49. Thanks for hosting, earthchick!

  50. SheRev - i'm superimposing the nonviolent atonement into our holy week also - so far so good.

    I gave Muthah+ a hug from all of us tonight.


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