Today I had a meeting with the musician who will be sharing his gifts with Messiah from Palm Sunday, through Holy Week, and for the first several Sundays of Eastertide: Simon Waegemaekers. Simon is a pro, and I am especially appreciating how good he is working with the choir (he has been rehearsing the choir for the past few weeks in anticipation of the Holy Week rigours). Running a choir is a fine art, especially church choirs, especially especially volunteer church choirs. But to paraphrase a psalm, singing together in harmony is like fine oil running down the beard.
Today we had a meeting (along with my student, Nancy) to plan out more detail for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the Great Vigil, and Easter Sunday. It's a monumental amount of work to prepare and plan these services, and much of it has actually already been done. Today we finalized the scripture lessons for those days as well as picked out much of the music.
Last year's Holy Week was epic. Really, some of the finest liturgy I have ever offered-up, anywhere. I think that many of my colleagues would be amazed at what we were able to accomplish, worship-wise, in our small parish. Eric and I worked out a lot of stuff and then brought in more and more people to contribute to that vision. But it didn't take vast sums of money or hired-gun-musicians or any of that stuff. It just took passionate people, two principal leaders, and lots of thought.
This year Simon, Nancy, and I started with last year, and then started tweaking and changing things. I put sheets of flip chart paper on the wall with notes about the various services: date/time, lessons, prayers, configuration of space, music, etc. These sheets are going to live on my walls for the next several weeks. They look fairly neat now, but will be a mess by the time Holy Week actually comes!
So this is starting to make Lent a little less Lent-ish...