Today marks the middle of the Feast of Feasts! Pascha is a 40 day feast! So wonderfully full of joy and excitement, celebrating the victory over death!
I love that Pascha is 40 days long! Mostly because I need time to come out of the “Bright Week Blues”. Have you ever heard of that term, “bright week blues”?
I had never heard this term until last year when we had a bright week liturgy with a neighboring parish and the visiting priest gave a homily and spoke about it. His description of this condition really resonated with me. It was as if he described my exact feelings. We spend 40 days in pursuit of spiritual fruit, working hard to make progress on our path to salvation. From Lazarus Saturday through bright Monday, if you are in the choir and/or fully immerse yourself in services of Holy Week, you are in church daily and sometimes up to 3 times a day. You are giving your whole existence to walking through Passion Week with our Lord and Savior. And then two days of feasting and celebrating the resurrection of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ.
And then, it all stops. Physically, anyway. We go home. We rest, and all the responsibility is done. There is a big sigh, and a letting go, and then back to the grind. The hard work is done and sometimes, everything melts away and we quickly forget and suddenly I feel down, sad, tired, and despondent.
What is wrong with me? This is the most joyous time of year! Why do I feel this way?
I stopped working! I stopped pursuing that spiritual fruit, and I closed my eyes and fell asleep.
Wake up, Susan! The Lord is risen! He has conquered death, He has brought joy into all the world and into your life! If you so choose! Choose life, Susan! Rise from your lethargy and shout for joy…He is risen! He has conquered death! He is your joy and inspiration!
The hymn for today, the middle of the Feast is our prayer!
Fill my thirsting soul, oh dear risen Christ!
And this year, I feel as though there has been so much more distraction. Lots of things that have pulled my attention from what I should be focusing on.
We are in the middle of very big remodel. We have a new kitchen going in as we speak. Right now I have no operating kitchen. I am cooking on a camp stove outside under a tent and washing dishes in the laundry room utility sink.
At the same time, my mom is getting ready to move back to MN and we are packing her room up and this weekend we load 2 vehicles to travel across the country to move her into a new apartment. I will be gone for 3 weeks. This is a good move, but bittersweet. She will be near a lot more family. She’ll have her own place and her sister and niece both live in the same apartment community.
This busyness is no excuse for my despondency and “bright week blues” (that has lasted well beyond bright week). It’s just that, an excuse.
Fill my thirsting soul!
This week during vespers for Midfeast we hear from Isaiah:
Everyone who thirsts,Isaiah 55: 1, 6-7
Come to the waters…
Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.
From a little book I am reading called “Meditations for Pascha”, I read:
The light of Pascha and Pentecost compels us to recognize the darkness within us and to seek purity and renewal that we may be able to fully share in the joy and holiness of the Spirit: As we come together on the mid-feast between Your Resurrection and the divine descent of Your Holy Spirit, O Christ, we praise the mysteries of Your wonders. Wherefore, on this day send down upon us Your great mercy.Italicized is a hymn from vespers on this day.
A few sentences later he says, “The joy of Pascha lies in a vigorous response to the Resurrection and the presence of the Holy Spirit within us and around us.”
Do you know what vigorous means? The dictionary definition is revealing to me.
“strong, healthy, and full of energy” and secondly, “characterized by or involving physical strength, effort, or energy.“
I need to get back to work! I need to view this time of Pascha as the time to work and vigorously respond to His calling. Wake up! Seek Him and find joy!
May the 2nd half of Pascha be filled with joy! May we all recognize the darkness within us and to seek purity and renewal that we may be able to fully share in the joy and holiness of the Spirit as we come to Pentecost at the end of the feast.