It’s this time of year when in this part of the country, you may feel like a bit of a weirdo. It was obvious to me yesterday when finding out we would start off my son’s baseball season by having scrimmage games with each of the other teams in his league on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday at 6pm next week. Though I’m sure the “nothing on Wednesdays” policy maintained by most “extra-curricular” type stuff is helpful for many on the team, this is one week in particular when (in my opinion) it is pretty daft to expect our kids to be involved in things on Thursday and Friday. “Uhhh–it’s Holy Week!” I said as the coaches outlined the schedule.
I noticed no-one else registered their complaint. (Nor, perhaps, understood mine.)
Now I know why my “ultra-savvy to his context” friend and colleague, Bob Long, who’s the senior minister at St. Luke’s UMC in Oklahoma City, decided to schedule their observation of “Maundy Thursday” on Wednesday. That’s not uncommon in a region of the country where the observation of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday is relatively rare, and there’s not enough of a “critical mass” to warrant accommodation by such things as Little League. I can imagine there have been conversations with co-workers and friends among you in which you’ve found yourself explaining what Maundy Thursday and Good Friday mean, and why you can’t be here or there on Thursday and Friday (at least, I hope that’s what you have said!)
In my experience of worship as a layperson and as an ordained minister, I have found these two days to be the most poignant worship services of the year. There is something about the stripped away altar and somber tone that make the brass and pomp of Easter all the more joyful and reinvigorating. I hope you’ll plan to “have to say no” to the other things of our culture on April 5 and 6 at 7pm. I know you’ll be glad you did.