St James Anglican Church

Notes from the Clergy

Holy Week has begun this day and it is filled with many tangible and material symbols: kiss and cross, oil and water, fire and water, passion and praise, eggs and candles, silence and sounds, fasting and feasting. These all come together to point out the paradoxes of the sacred mysteries we celebrate. But these symbols are not just for the church ceremonies, they are foundational to life at home.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are traditionally days for “spring cleaning.” We sweep away the cobwebs hidden in shadowy corners, wash curtains and walls, and polish silver and floors, to point to the new spiritual life growing within us.

Thursday is a day to paint eggs and bake special Easter Breads. It is a time to prepare food for the Holy days of the Triduum. Some people choose to do without everything that requires a flame as a symbol of the Light of the World being extinguished.

On Good Friday a corner of the house could become a shrine for the veneration of the cross. A place for children and adults alike to spend some quiet time. No music is played, only the sound of a wooden rattle is heard. A simple cold meal is served. These simple actions reflect the passion and death of Christ. These simple practices bring us closer to the mystical that is at the centre of our life. It gives an outward form of reverence for this day of quiet and reflection.

Saturday is a time to prepare your Easter clothes; a reminder of your baptismal garments and new beginnings. Something new, even if very small, can be worn to indicate the transformation that is within, even if you cannot quite name it yet. Easter baskets are prepared and the food prepped for Easter dinner. An Alleluia banner can be made and a bell for each family member gathered to take to the Vigil.

Doing without flame or light for three days, it is with great longing that we wait for the Easter fire to be lit with flint and steel, and blessed and praised. The taper we carry through the service then lights a votive to take home to symbolically bring the light of the world back into our homes and life.

I encourage you to fill this Holy Week with many outward symbols to give concrete form to your new life.

Mother Alexis Saunders