I hope everyone has had a joyous Feast of Feasts. I had not intended for my spring break post to indicate that I was going to take a break from blogging for the rest of the fast, but I guess it served as such. Today I have caught up on all my blog reading. I really enjoyed looking at the many pictures of Holy Week and Paschal celebrations, but I don't have any to share myself, just a few photos around the house.
The last few weeks have been very full. Efforts are being made locally to form an Orthodox school, and I had the opportunity to meet with one of the leaders of the steering committee about serving on the school board which is being formed. We had our annual staff appreciation dinner at the library where I work. The weekend of the fifth Sunday of Lent, we had a wonderful Lenten retreat at our church which is hosted jointly by the women of our parish as well as those of the local Greek parish. This year Maria Khoury came and spoke to us of her experiences raising a family in the Holy Land, which was very inspiring. On the 25th of March after Holy Liturgy for the Annunciation, there was a fish dinner at church celebrating not only the feast, but also the 50th birthday of our parish priest. And of course, through it all there have been the Lenten church services.
And then, Holy Week: my favorite week of the year. I was telling a non-Orthodox co-worker about the services of Holy Week, and she commented, "It sounds like you could just pitch a tent in the church parking lot for the week." I believe that most of my readers are Orthodox Christians, but for any that are not, or for those curious about the schedule we follow in our Antiochian parish, here is the schedule for Holy Week this year. It gives a brief description of the various services. Each one is unique and beautiful and a blessing to attend.
I find Bright Week a bit of a shock to the system, in more ways than one. Staying up most of the night on Pascha, eating all of the rich, (delicious!) festal foods, and then after being so immersed in the life of the Church for Lent and Holy Week, suddenly finding myself back to life as usual. I take the day off of work on Bright Monday to ease myself back into it, but the big shift in the pattern of daily life tends to feel very abrupt to me. I do find it helps if I have some fun things and projects planned to fill the time I was spending in church: there is a garden to be planted, things to make, and books to read. Not to mention chores to be done, which have been severely neglected! I'm so impressed with those of you who do a Lenten spring clean. For this working wife Lent means work, church, sleep, repeat. Food and food shopping find their way into that pattern sometimes, but cleaning, almost never. So I have plenty to do to help me adjust to the seasonal shift, and hopefully I'll be inspired to share a few of these projects here.
Blessed Paschal season to you all!