Holy Week and Easter Sunday are over for another year. I am heaving a sigh of both relief and regret. Relief because it is all so much work, and regret because it is all so wonderful. The sudden transition from joy to profound sorrow on Palm Sunday, is reversed a week later, when the darkness of Good Friday gives way to the golden light of Easter. The Easter Vigil service starts with the lighting of the Easter fire and the Pascal Candle from which the other candles are lit. The church is in total darkness, and then lit only by the candles of the faithful – and these are extinguished for the readings. It is very dark, very mysterious, and a little scary if your role requires that you move from place to place. The service lasts about three and a half hours, but with the wonderful stories, the chanting of Psalms, and the triumphant entry of the newly baptized, the time flies by. I stagger home well after midnight, exhausted, and dread coming back at the crack of dawn for more of the same. But every year, energy is rekindled as I process with the choir through the Great Ceremonial Doors, singing “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today.” It is like a burst of glorious light and glorious music as we enter the cathedral. This year, I could not even sing, I was so moved by the beauty of it all.
Here is Maria, preparing the altar for the Easter Vespers Service, and Maria, Corinna, and Dan taking a breather between the many events of the day.