Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Holy Tuesday Kinda People
I work at a church, and have been working in churches since I was fourteen. I'm fifty now, you do the math. I've seen more than my share of Ash Wednesdays and Palm Sundays. I've sat in parish council planning meetings to determine whether or not the wine for Maundy Thursday should be Manischewitz or Traders Joe's. I've ironed the white drape that goes over the altar for Easter Sunday. My brother and I once built a baptismal font and covered the basin in faux marble so that five babies would be baptised in it on Easter Vigil Saturday.
I used to be able to sing all the verses of Tantum Ergo by rote. I know what those four little knobs on a Catholic Pascal candle stand for. I've kissed the feet of the crucified Lord on Good Friday, washed a deacon's feet on Maundy Thursday, stood close enough to the flames of the bonfire on Easter Vigil to singe my eyebrows. And of course, I have sung "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today" in all twelve major keys through my life, accompanied by organ, flute, violin, piano, most anything except the kazoo.
But one thing always gives me pause. Holy Week is really only designated by two Sundays, a Thursday, a Friday, and, if you're Catholic, a really long Saturday.
What about Monday through Wednesday?
I have thought long about this, and have come to this conclusion. Holy Tuesday is not getting its due. On Monday, you're still thinking about Palm Sunday, wondering where to stick those five extra cross shaped palms you snuck out of church with yesterday. Wednesday is unofficial get-out-there-and-buy-your-Easter-outfit-day. But Tuesday just sits there in the middle, too far away from Sunday to prepare for anything, too soon to iron the drape or set out the lilies.
So Tuesday just sits there, waiting.
I identify with Holy Tuesday, I think. My Holy Week is about preparing, but my Holy Tuesday is about being in waiting. If you are like most people, and I am, 99% of life is about the ordinary, and 1% is either the mountaintop experience of joy, rapture and bliss, or the pits of hell in which your entire being is torn into little itty bitty pieces and blown away into the wind.
99% of life, I believe, is a Tuesday. Unremarkable, but necessary. Without Tuesday, there is no Wednesday, no Thursday, no Holy Week. Without Tuesday, it's Holy Six Days, which just sounds dumb.
Holy Tuesday in all its drab unremarkable "so-so"-ness, is a blessing. It has nothing much to offer in and of itself, but it is still part of Holy Week just the same. It does not point out its own glory, or joy, or passion, or grief, or hopefulness. It just IS. Simple, without a special liturgy or garb or symbol, it takes its rightful place in the holiest week of the year as the Day Of Ordinary, the day that represents 99% of us.
I am the 99%. I am a Holy Tuesday kinda gal.