Were You There When the Stone Was Rolled Away? Triduum Notes from a Gone-Away City

Eve Tushnet | 4/23/2019 | Staff
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Some personal news: Christ is risen!

Holy Thursday: I avoided the Triduum services at my home parish, the Cathedral, for the reason I talked about here. (Though I was at the Easter Vigil.) Instead, with some friends I attended a Solemn Mass of the Lord’s Supper at a nearby church. It was one of many churches around the District where rapid demographic transformation (she said carefully) has left the parish with mostly-black elders and mostly-white newcomers. So the ushers were black, the music included spirituals, and dinner in the parish hall afterward was soul food, but the large majority of the congregation were white.

Church - Steps - Hall - Wonder - Moon

As we headed out of the church to go down the outside steps into the parish hall, we stopped to look in wonder at the full moon, low and perfect, blurring just a little at the edges in the soft spring air.

Good Friday: I was scared off of Stations of the Cross by scattered showers, though I note Amy Welborn took the far more Catholic approach of resigning herself to rain. Check out her photos and notes from the Triduum celebrations of Birmingham, AL’s Latino and Melkite communities.

Church - Yesterday - Liturgy - Lord - Passion

I went back to the church from yesterday for the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion and we sang “Were You There?” This is one of the hymns I really love. In a way, at least for someone like me, the most poignant word in it is “sometimes.” Sometimes, it causes me to tremble–only sometimes, only in the rare times when I can live within what I know to be real. It’s a spiritual, first sung by people who had to snatch time, beauty, faith whenever they could, in whatever way they were allowed by the Christians who held them in slavery. Whatever time they could steal–like Aquinas’s desperate man, who steals...
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