Holy Days and Nights


The Paschal Triduum is the three days of Easter before the season of Eastertide. Paschal means having to do with Easter and/or Passover. Triduum is Latin for three days. In these days we transition from the first half of the Great 100 Days that we call Lent to the second half of the Great 100 Days which we know as the 50 Days of Easter. 

Our early Christian ancestors understood that when Maundy Thursday arrived, Easter had begun. It's pretty counterintuitive for us. Many of us have been formed in such a way that we experience Maundy Thursday as a dark and gloomy day. It is a hard day, for sure, full of drama and consequences and consequential acts. But it starts with a party, a celebration of a festival.

Maundy Thursday is really Mandate Thursday or New Commandment Thursday. Jesus gives the commandment that we should love one another as he loves us, that we should love our enemies as well as our friends and neighbors. He sets us an example of authoritative loving service by washing the feet of the disciples. He gives us strength for the journey in his company in the form of the sacred meal we know as communion.

Good Friday seems even less Eastery than Maundy Thursday for many of us. The consequences of betrayal, greed, and love of false power as well as preoccupation with status, position, and wealth play out in very stark terms of life and death. Yet there is no way through it but to do it. Though we don't exactly desire it, we walk the way of the cross all the way to the tomb. And then we wait. We wait upon God and trust that God will be God, that death is not the end, that there is more life, new life, other life, different life on the other side of death.

We experience once more the mystery, the wonder, the reality that life gives way to death gives way to life as we kindle a new fire in the darkness at the Great Vigil of Easter. We pray as we light the Paschal candle and as we wait for the sun to rise. As the earth tilts toward daylight, we receive the good news that death does not have the last word, that life and love are stronger than death.

When the sun sets this evening on Thursday, in sacred time it is already Friday ("there was evening and there was morning, the first day"). When Friday evening comes, it is already Saturday. When night falls on Saturday, it is already Sunday. 

We commemorate the memorial of our redemption in these sacred three days with one liturgy in three parts. It is the Paschal Triduum, the Easter Three Days. If we give ourselves to this three-day cosmic drama, it will change us. If we join God in Christ in the mystery of life and death and more life, we will be renewed. Come and see.

"Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. Therefore, let us keep the feast."

Padre's Blog A la Mote
Posted by The Very Reverend Donna S. Mote, PhD

Our 34th rector, Dr Mote, was installed by Bishop Eaton on Saturday, June 5th, 2021.  Prior to joining St Paul's, she served as the Vicar of ATL (Episcopal Chaplain to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport).  With Bishop Robert C. Wright she authored, The Go Guide: 10 Steps for Innovations in Ministry from Luke 10. Beginning in 2016, Donna served on the bishop's staff as Missioner for Engagement and Innovation in the Diocese of Atlanta, to consult on, coach, strategize, support, promote, and provoke innovations in ministry in Middle and North Georgia.  She was also Chaplain to the Georgia State Defense Force and the 76th Support Brigade.

Donna earned degrees from Shorter College (BA), Southern Seminary (MDiv), and Emory University’s Graduate Division of Religion (PhD) and completed Anglican studies at Sewanee: The University of the South. Donna was raised up for ordination by the parish of St Bartholomew’s, Atlanta. She is an Associate of the Order of St Helena.  Donna is married to Rebecca England, and they have two sons, Anderson and Jordan.

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