The Cathedral of St. Philip - Atlanta, GA

Walking Through the Week

An article from the Cathedral Times 
by the Rev. Canon George Maxwell

Walking Through the Week

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

These were often the first words I heard on Easter morning. Somewhere in the house, I would hear Dad say, "Alleluia! Christ is risen!" Mom would respond, "the Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!"

In the early years, I would race downstairs. I wanted to be in the middle of it all, to be the next one to say, "Alleluia! Christ is risen!" 

As I grew older, I realized that this was a little strange. I would linger upstairs hoping that they would get it out of their system before I had to join them.

We face a similar choice this week, I think. 

On Palm Sunday, we welcome Jesus as the Christ"”waving our palms as we walk around the church. And, on Easter, we celebrate the joy of the Resurrection"”starting with the fire at the Great Vigil, and marching triumphantly through the liturgy to the grand finale, the singing of "Welcome, Happy Morning!" 

We'll get our Alleluias back, of course. They'll be right where they were before we gave them up for Lent. But, will they the same? Will they be different in any way for having been gone so long?

They will, I think, if we walk through this week with intention.

We'll feel the difference, if we carry with us the shouts of "Crucify him!" that came out of our mouths during the Passion Narrative on Palm Sunday. It wasn't just "those people" who said such things. We continue to say them in our own way day after day.

We'll feel it, if we wash others' feet, and have our own feet washed, on Thursday. It's not just about being a little vulnerable as we take off our shoes and socks. It's about practicing the art of self-giving without expecting anything in return.

We'll feel it, if we really hear the despair in Jesus' cry from the cross on Friday. "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Hearing these words, feeling this emotion, is what allows us to understand Paul when he says, "he [God] made him [Christ] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 
(2 Cor. 5:21)

Join us. Walk through the week with Christ by attending the Holy Week liturgies at the Cathedral. Try carrying this awareness of guilt, practicing these motions of self-giving, and feeling that anguish of someone who died for us. 

It makes a difference to me. It gives me a new sense each year of how it is that God is making all things new. It makes me jump at the chance to say "Alleluia!"

I'm looking forward to Easter morning. As the Vigil ends, I'll be heading to the phone to call my parents. And, as soon as one of them answers, I know just what I will say,

"Alleluia! Christ is risen!"

Canon George Maxwell