The Rabbling

Its hard to keep on blogging once the Triduum gets going. So many hours in church. So many emotions come and go. Intimacy turns to fear turns to peace in the garden and then its all over and He is gone.

Last night’s service was all it should have been. You never get to say thankyous after the Maundy Thursday service (it ends with no dismissal and a vigil of prayer). So, inadequate though it is, may I simply state my gratitude here to all involved.

The Stripping of the Altar was particularly brutal this year. Furniture dragged around, lots of noise and lots of unease. Many servers and clergy involved and a choir ready to pitch in and shift the altar and platform as well as their own stalls. The inadequate lighting which we currently have (to be fixed next week) simply added to what was happening.

I was struck when it was all going on that such a rabbling is in our DNA as a congregtation. More than once, a mob descended on the Episcopalians and ripped up their meeting house and ran them out of town.

One of the ways I often think about Holy Week is to think it through in terms of the fickle mob. That mob seemed very real as everything lovely was taken from the altar of the Lord.

There was much to think about as we gathered in a lovely garden of repose at the end to keep watch until late into the night.

Thus it was that we gathered in a bare, stark space today for what worship we could muster. God is gone. The font is closed. There will be no sacraments now.

This morning, we venerated the cross. A touch, a kiss, a look.

This afternoon, the Rev Anne Tomlinson took us through the journey of the wilderness hours from noon until 3pm. A good crowd gathered to hear the preaching of the cross. The same mob. Cowed now. Still. Silent. Watching. Waiting for it to be done.
Yet still, on to more. Stainer’s Crucifixion tonight at 7.30 pm.


  1. “brutal”, “lots of noise”, “lots of unease”, “rabbling”.

    Yes indeed, and that’s why I won’t be there next year. If I manage to find somewhere else with quiet calm dignity then I shall go there, otherwise I’ll be at home watching TV and not missing it.

    I generally like the services at St Mary’s, well, apart from Eucharist but that’s a personal thing, but I’m afraid to say last night didn’t hit the spot for me in any way shape or form. No dignity.

  2. I’d be sorry not to see you next year, Layclerk. I’d say that there was great beauty, peace and dignity at many moments during the Thursday evening, though not indeed during the Stripping.

    Arrests tend not to be pretty. But then you know that.

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