That’s our Father Matthew reading the Passion Gospels last night in the three-hour service of Holy Thursday. See all those kids? They were there for the entire service, and behaved like champs. It’s a long service, but a very powerful one. The priest reads ceremonially from the Passion accounts in all the Gospels, and there are Psalms and hymns throughout. There is nothing in my experience like Orthodox worship to draw you fully into the drama of Pascha. At the end, everyone in the church, even the little ones, approaches the crucifix and makes three prostrations — head to the floor — in front of it, then kisses the figure of Jesus.
It is nearly overwhelming, this worship. Tomorrow at 3pm, we will have the Good Friday service in which we symbolically lay the Body of Christ in the tomb. It’s one of my favorite services of the year, because it’s so moving and transcendent. Tomorrow night, we keep vigil at the tomb all through the night, reading Psalms aloud. It’s exhausting, but it’s a good kind of exhausting.
I will not be blogging on Good Friday, or approving comments. You will see a couple of blogs appear in this space on Friday, because I have written them in advance. Please don’t be upset when you don’t see your comments appear. I will get to them tomorrow night, probably.