Today is the first day of our Holy Week Journey to Pascha. Last night, in a darkened Church, we processed with the Bridegroom Icon. This is an Icon of Christ which we use as the cover to our Daily Lenten Journey. It normally depicts Christ holding a reed as a staff to remind us that He is our King, but He is heading for His death. During the first several nights of Holy Week, our services are designed to remind us of the need to be vigilantly awaiting the coming of Christ.
During the process with the Bridegroom Icon last night we sang the hymn, “Behold, the Bridegroom is coming in the middle of the night; and blessed is the servant He shall find awake and watching.” (You can read the entire hymn below) Many of us feel strongly about the importance of attending Church services during Holy Week. It is the holiest week of the year, after all. Unfortunately, most do not embrace the real call that is being made during the services.
We don’t just gather in a dark Church to sing a few hymns and return home unchanged. We are ACTUALLY waiting for God to return. We ACTUALLY do not know when He will return. We ACTUALLY believe He might return at any moment, or at least we are supposed to believe that He will return at any moment. If we are not actually waiting for God, then our Church attendance is nothing more than a dead ritual, a beautiful ritual, but a dead ritual.
I invite you this year. Make Holy Week real for you and your family. Prepare you heart and soul to meet Christ. Be ready at any moment. Truth is, we don’t know when He is going to return. We also don’t know when we are leaving to meet Him. Either way, this Holy Week we can be ready, waiting for God. It will be our blessing.
Behold, the Bridegroom is coming in the middle of the night; and blessed is the servant He shall find awake and watching; unworthy is the other He shall find being lazy. So beware, O soul of mine, be not overcome by sleep, so that you not be handed over to death and be shut out from the Kingdom. Come to your senses and cry aloud: Holy, holy, holy are You our God. By the protection of the Bodiless Hosts have mercy on us.