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A Wake for Jesus

Burial_Icon_closeup.jpg

We had our wake on Friday (see earlier posts here and here for more background). It was attended by a small handful of folks, most of whom came later in the evening. We ended up hosting it in our living room once again, as the other available spaces seemed too big, and having it at home simplified our childcare logistics considerably. (As it worked out, the boy was soundly asleep before anyone else even arrived, so we were both able to be present for the whole time that anyone else was there).

I did end up rearranging the room considerably, putting the two couches facing each other, with the icon at the far end, and a good chunk of open space in the middle, which made the room feel much less claustrophobic than last year. That and baking significant quantities of hot cross buns took most of the day, but I was really happy with how things came out.

This year, people used the sharing time to process the main holy week liturgies that they had been to so far in the week, and to work through some of the thoughts and feelings that those liturgies had brought up.

I mentioned before that I think of this as a supplemental liturgy, perhaps akin to the more familiar Maundy Thursday vigil that some churches keep overnight. It struck me this year that it might be a helpful thing to offer to a core Holy Week liturgy team in a parish, to give them some calmer time to process without having to be doing anything. It could also work well (perhaps with light modification) as an open chapel during the day on Holy Saturday, or possibly even spanning the time between the end of the main Good Friday liturgy and the beginning of the Easter Vigil.

If you’re interested, there’s a few more pictures on the new Doing Public Work Flickr account.

All in all, I’m very happy with how it came out this year. Next year, we’ll be somewhere new, likely somewhere with it’s own way of doing Holy Week. It will be interesting to see if and how this might fit into a new context.

Addendum: My friend Terry has a post up with a picture of another burial icon by Miranda, made for the Episcopal Church of the Advocate in Chapel Hill/Carrboro, NC. In addition to the wake, they use the icon at last station of a stations of the cross which walks through Carrboro and ends at in the town cemetery. Afterwards the flowers are distributed to the graves around.

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