Easter is known as the holiday in which Jesus was crucified on the cross and, after 3 days, was resurrected. These Great Three Days are known as the Triduum and are meant to be observed as a whole.
In St. James Church, located in downtown Texarkana, Texas, the Episcopal church is in observance of the Holy Week, carrying out religious traditions and rites of Christians, such as the conclusion of Lent, which traditionally is observed by acts of penance and fasting.
“If anyone wants to know what the Christian faith is all about, come during Holy Week. We don’t just get to hear about saving events, we reenact them. It is therefore possible to “enter into” these events in an immediate, experiential way,” Father Douglas Anderson said.
Father Doug and Father David explain that congregations at the Holy Week and Easter services are among the most enthusiastic of the year. They emphasize that those who attend services during Holy Week truly want to be there, not out of obligation, but out of duty and devotion to Jesus. It is a sight that they derive great joy and contentment from each year.
The Great Three Days, also known as Paschal Triduum, allow for Christians to participate in the commemorations of Easter, from Maundy Thursday to Good Friday and Easter Saturday night Vigil. These days memorialize the transition from crucifixion to resurrection.
Traditionally, Gospels of the Last Supper are shared, along with his washing of the disciples’ feet, on Maundy Thursday. Good Friday commemorates the passion and crucifixion of the Lord according to St. John. The service concludes with Holy Communion in the form of the Bread and service ending in a stark silence.
Although, this Lenten season is a great time of jubilation, it is important to remember the tribulations Jesus carried for the sins of mankind. During service on Good Friday, a message was shared describing the irony of the modern day cross. What was once observed as a sign of death, grim and viewed with disdain, is now a symbol of love, forgiveness, and new life.
“This Friday, which we call Good, is a time for us to rediscover the sense of scandal and outrage that the primary symbol of our religion is a cross, emphasized Father Doug in his Good Friday sermon from the pulpit. “The cross is not a decoration, it is not pretty. The cross is a challenge—a sign of a radical way of living that demands making tough choices.”
The liturgy, a formulary according to which public religious worship, of the year is the Great Vigil of Easter on the Night of Holy Saturday. The Vigil begins in the silence and darkness, in symbolism of the tomb. Praises to the Christ candle are sung and resonate through the pews, where words among the most ancient in the life of the church are spoken in chorus.
The breaking of fasting and Lent is commonly celebrated by a large feast and Easter egg hunt Sunday morning. This form of coming together is among the most beloved rites shared by the congregation. Easter continues to be a way for Christians to come together in observance of Jesus’s sacrifices, while also connecting one another through this shared experience.