Triduum [pronounced TRIH-dee-oom] translates literally: “three-days.” Never heard of it before? You’re not alone. It refers to the three great days of Easter: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil. The idea of these three days is that the church spends three whole days in prayer. Of course, these days, most people can’t imagine even three whole minutes in prayer, let alone three days.
If however, we remind ourselves that prayer is a multi-tasking endeavor, we are in a much better mindset to enter onto such a path. A very wise teacher once reminded my Sunday School Assembly that we could pray anywhere, any time, no matter what else we were doing. Why, we could even pray when we were making our beds in the morning or at school before a test. (That’s also why I know that as long as there are math tests, there will always be prayer in the public schools.)
The services of these Three Days of the Triduum are the focal points of our final Lenten prayers. During the time between the services we’ll go about our regular activities, but, it is to be hoped, with a renewed attitude of reverence and prayer. Perhaps even with a sense of Christian purpose to love our neighbor and our God in a heartfelt way.
So this year, as we did last year, we will encourage you to join us in prayer for the duration of the Triduum. On Maundy Thursday we center our prayers around Jesus’ new command to love one another. To aid our prayer we will celebrate the Eucharist which Jesus instituted that first Thursday. On Good Friday we will center our prayers around Christ’s great sacrifice of love for the whole world. To aid our prayer that night, we will proclaim the mystery of Christ’s Passion. Saturday, we will center our prayers around baptism. To aid our prayers the night before Easter, we will participate in one of the most ancient liturgies of the church, celebrating with fire, word, water, bread and wine. It is the most holy night of the whole year, even more holy than Christmas.
These days of the Triduum, April 1, 2 & 3, this year, will lead us straight to Easter. We will be on pilgrimage. We will wander through the wilderness. We will tell the most wondrous stories of our faith. We will laugh and cry and sing. We will wonder and pause and reflect. We will celebrate God’s love for us and we will rejoice in the good news of God’s mercy and love for all humanity.
Pastor Wendell Hendershott