On a day like this, this beautiful Friday, I can't even begin to fathom the gravity of what we will do. We will put Jesus on the cross and watch him suffer and die.
It's a glorious day outside, as it has been almost every day this Holy Week. The thing that I draw from God's gifts is that, in spite of sin and suffering and death, there is still goodness in the world. Though we mark the death of Jesus on the cross today, we know that it is not the end. We wait expectantly for Easter Sunday, when He will conquer death by rising from the tomb.
It has been a part of my tradition to go to every Triduum mass, if I can. This has only been in the past 2 years. Now that I look back on past Lents and Holy Weeks, I was not aware of the significance. Sure, I heard the words but my heart never processed them. I am glad to have finally been awakened by God to the beauty of the Triduum. Of Easter.
In the past I have served at at least one Triduum mass each season. It was only last year that I was a part of all three and Easter. I was the incense girl at Holy Thursday, a server at the Good Friday service, and the incense girl again at the Vigil Mass. At the sunrise Easter service, I was a lector. I know that just attending Mass makes me a part of it, but I like being engaged more. I feel that I am more aware of what is happening, of the words said, of the actions performed.
Yesterday, my friend Fr. David and I talked about why we love to serve and say Mass (obviously, he only does that last part!). It was yesterday and today that I finally realized how much I love being an altar server and being a part of Mass in a more active way than most.
Another tradition of mine during Holy Week is to go on a Holy Thursday hike with FD. This year we tried to get more people to come along, but schedules couldn't be changed to let them join us. So off we trekked to Middle Prong Trail, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
It was a beautiful trail. Awesome that it was a gradual climb, situated along the Middle Prong Little River (I think I got it right...I need a map).
We didn't hike for very long because we started late and had to be back in Knoxville at 3, but what we did accomplish was well worth it. Look at how amazing it is! I have a basic understanding of the geology behind how these mountains were formed, but it still continues to boggle my mind. After hiking, I always have a sense that God knew and knows what He is doing.
So with that in mind, I know that God knew what he was doing the night that Jesus washed the disciples' feet, broke bread, and gave thanks. God knew what he was doing the day that Jesus was condemned, was crucified, and was buried.
It still boggles my mind, but I am so ever grateful for what Jesus did during this holiest of weeks, and I am ever thankful for what God did in the mountains around me.
On days like these, sadness and happiness somehow co-exist. While the trees are still bare, I know that in a few weeks, the world will be green again. The forest will come back. Jesus dies today, and we all play a part in His death. The good news is that He still loves us and saves us.