'Twas the Week before Holy Week!

by Charlotte Long, Youth Ministry

'Twas the Week before Holy Week...
and all through my soul,
not a praise was too meager
nor a prayer too small...
- Me

I love the old Celtic idea of "thin places" - places where the barrier between heaven and earth are especially thin. According to that tradition, these are the places you can go to experience God more easily. It isn't necessarily a direct Scriptural reference, but there is no denying that people throughout the Bible  make pilgrimages to Holy places to be with God, to worship (the Temple, Mt. Sinai, etc).

We don't have much of a pilgrimage tradition in the Episcopal Church, although friends of mine who have gone to Jerusalem and the Scottish community of Iona have told me that they found themselves surrounded by Holiness at every turn.

So until you and I find our own personal Holy Place on this globe, why may we not have "thin times" instead? This is how I feel about Holy Week, already. For me, the whole year leading up to Holy Week was in itself a pilgrimage - across the desert of the Chicago summer, through the mountains of the autumn, across the frozen lake of winter (I'm getting carried away, now) and FINALLY, to Holy Week waiting for me, letting me rest in the easiness of God's presence. And in tis week, I can feel everything count. All my prayers are heard, all my sorrows felt, and I am surrounded in a deep quiet; or, as C.S. Lewis calls it, "the Deep Magic."

I encourage you then, to walk the whole of Holy Week; starting on Palm Sunday, Tuesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday's Stations of the Cross and Good Friday Liturgy, and finally the Great Vigil on Saturday night. Even as a child, my parents allowed me to attend all of these services, impressing on me the holiness, the mystery of Jesus' last night with his friends, and how the first Christians went to a service just like this - in the darkness of some cave maybe, with candles, praying to God in whispers. And I still love it.

Let me know if Holy Week ends up being a "thin time" for you! See you on the other side!