There is nothing quite like Holy Week for making you ache in places you didn’t even know existed. It is so ‘physical’ all that standing and bending and washing and stripping (yes, stripping!) and waiting and dusting and polishing and all the rest that makes up Holy Week in church. Oh, and my brain hurts too. And let me tell you how hard it is to write an Easter sermon when you are hurting and aching and still in the depths of Holy Saturday.
It really begins with the footwashing. I don’t know how many I did this year but it was much more than in the past. This is not a complaint, by the way. There is nothing I like better than washing my little flock’s feet. It is an honour and a privilege. But next year I’m either going for a milking stool to sit on or gardeners’ knee pads in place under my alb. Or maybe one of those lovely prayer stools… As a result my knees feel like those of Elizabeth who has never been able to kneel at the altar and is now in a wheelchair. How tempting is that wheelchair! I even chickened out of a full prostration at the Altar of Repose for fear that I’d never get up again. Certainly not gracefully.
Good Friday was long but well attended. It began with the early delivery (7.30am) of the hot cross buns from Oliphants the Bakers. How I resisted one for breakfast, I’ll never know. But there is something quite beautiful about the church in all its starkness, naked of all adornments. I wouldn’t want it every week, you understand. But when it lies empty on Good Friday it certainly focuses the mind.
Today we began in church again for Morning Prayer, the last time we’ll say it together until Advent which seems such a long time away. I do so love having someone to say the Office with. Then it was a mad frenzy of polishing and dusting and wheezing (and an out-of-date inhaler!) and all the rest to make the church as beautiful as possible for tomorrow. There’s been a slight hiccup with the Paschal Candle transfer which I’m waiting to attend to. (I have told them I’ve never done it before as there was always a wise wee pixie to help out, but it looks like my time has come.)
And I ache. From head to toe I hurt. It seems churlish to mention it but there it is. But it is all worth it – or rather, it will be tomorrow morning. But for the moment, a transfer, some paracetamol, a small snooze, and before you know it the dawn will arise and who knows what will happen then?