At 10.50 p.m. last evening, I drove up on a quiet street and parked my car by the side of The Church of Saint Michael and Saint George. The moon shone brightly in a cloudless sky. A chill was in the air.
At 11 p.m., I sat down in the quiet St. Mary Chapel adjacent to the nave, and began an hour-long vigil with the reserved sacrament. Symbolically, I was keeping watch with Jesus as he awaited the awful crucifixion of Good Friday.
As I sat there, I was profoundly moved by the silence, the candlelight, and the presence in that space. I sang hymns and read prayers and spoke other Christian poetry from the hymnal. I read Compline for Maundy Thursday. And I was just silent, too.
This tradition is enacted in countless, literally countless, world-wide churches that are part of the episcopal tradition. I was not alone last evening. Rather, I was part of an international host of faithful who were keeping vigil, even as right now more people are sitting in that particular chapel, waiting for the host to appear at the noonday Good Friday service.
The Triduum is now in its second day. The reminder of betrayal, crucifixion, and resurrection is once again with us.
Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.