Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Wednesday in Holy Week

Not much time to post today.

Wednesday is always busy for me; I am supper cook and doorbell queen on Wednesday. Add to that, confession with my spiritual director, preparations for tonight's Tenebrae service, setting up the altar of repose (for tomorrow night's service,) some last minute printing jobs for Easter cards for my sisters, and a Lincoln Center program waiting in the wings... the evening has not even begun and already I am pooped.

As I peeled and sliced the onions for our soup tonight, I thought of the Marys shopping at the market for the Passover preparations. Were they also rushed to finish everything before tomorrow night's feast? Cleaning the room, decorating, cooking all the special foods in the proper way. I thought of my friend who used to make the best onion soup when we lived at Melrose, wondered how she's doing in her new community this year...

Choir practice is at 4:00, then Evening Prayer, supper and the mad scramble to get the chapel ready for Tenebrae. Most windows are covered in blackout curtains, those with heavy drapes are pinned together. Wax paper is laid on the altar (in case the tenebrae candles should drip) the candles are arranged. One sister is polishing the two candleabras now... I wish her luck. It took me two days to polish them the year I was stuck with that job.

The Tenebrae service is ancient. Candles are extinguished one by one until only one is left and then even it is carried away, out of the chapel. All wait in darkness (pitch black supposedly, which is why all the Exit signs are covered up, and the windows draped.) At some point there is a huge thud, and the one candle returns. Light to the world in its darkness. It is one lone flicker in the vast sea of darkness, but it has not been consumed or extinguished. Everyone leaves in silence to carefully find their way out.


Leanne said...

Claire, I just wanted to say I enjoy reading your blog. Now I know what Tenebrae is. I've often wondered.

Judith said...

Hi Claire,

I've never been to a Tenebrae service, but after reading your description I have to find one next year! Thanks for sharing this with us!

Happy Easter!