Normally, Liturgy is a journal which concerns itself with the broad theological issues of the day, rather than the seasonal themes of the church’s yearly cycle of fasts and feasts. However, in 2003, readers of Liturgy were treated to two issues containing reflections upon the readings, liturgies and themes of the two great cycles: Advent-Christmas-Epiphany and Lent-Easter-Pentecost, along with actual liturgies for the seasons and suggestions for readings for Daily Prayer. The Lent-Easter-Pentecost issue was a rich banquet of resources for liturgical planners and leaders.
That issue contained a reflection upon the theme of fire and the way in which that theme connects Ash Wednesday, the Easter Vigil and the Pentecost celebration; a sermonic essay on each of the days of Holy Week; a sermon for Easter Sunday; a set of orders for brief daily prayer during Lent, Holy Week and Easter; an order for Evening Prayer during the Easter season; a set of daily readings for Lent and Easter; and a set of Healing Services.
In one essay, which “collects” the Gospel lessons for the Sundays in Lent into a thematic unity, S. Marian Bohen offered the following reflection.
If we wish to see Jesus, we must be prepared to be split apart like the grain of wheat, to promote others over ourselves, to be lifted up before the scoffers and the doubters. None of this is comforting; it flies in the face of what “the rulers of the world” sell us every day. Do we still wish to see Jesus?As we push into the home stretch of our marathon, we are reminded of the paradox of life-in-death and death-in-life. The reality of suffering and death involves every living creature, all things on earth. The vision of life eternal, life that explodes from the belly of death’s volcano, is Jesus’ gift to those who believe. We are drawn in human solidarity to the one lifted up before us at the finish line. Together we have completed one more lap of the journey into life, that zoe which encompasses the wholeness of being alive.
How is your Lenten marathon going?
On a completely different note, would you like Liturgy to offer more issues like this one?
S. Marian Bohen (2003): Five Sundays: The Lenten Marathon, Liturgy, 18:2, 9-10.
S. Marian Bohen is the author of The Mystery of Confirmation: A Theology of the Sacrament and Confirmation: Gift of the Holy Spirit.