Have an unglorious Passiontide

Have an unglorious Passiontide March 18, 2013

This is the week before Holy Week, a part of the church year known as Passiontide.  Contrary to those who think that liturgical worship is the same old thing every week, the liturgy, while following the same structure, actually changes each week, with different Bible readings and collects, and it features meaningful variations according to the church year.  Sunday, our pastor explained and put into effect worship customs for Passiontide that I never knew about before.  In Lent, Alleluias are taken away from the liturgy, as is the Gloria in Excelsis, marking the less joyous mood of the pentitential season.  Now at Passiontide, the doxologies (“Glory be to the Father. . . “) are also taken away.  After Maunday Thursday, all music is taken away.  Then, as our pastor said, on Easter, everything comes back.  (For an exhaustive list of such liturgical customs–though I’ve never known a church to do all of them–from a Lutheran perspective, see The Customs of Passiontide.)

The point is that during Passiontide, which continues through Holy Week, we reflect on how the Son of God put aside His glory and “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:7-8).

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