This is unquestionably a unique Holy Week.

“Most ‘normal’ Holy Weeks, I would fly back to Chicago to be with family and friends and hopefully attend a Seder with my Jewish friends/family (if Passover dates coincide) and Easter with my family/friends. I would eat matzoh and bitter herbs and read the Haggadah at a Seder. Hopefully, I would attend Holy Thursday church services celebrating “The Last Supper”, and the reenactment of Christ’s washing of the Apostles’ feet. I would attend Good Friday’s Stations of the Cross, and I would most certainly attend early morning mass on Easter Sunday.”

But not this year.

Instead, I will spend this entire Holy Week/Passover in Atlanta with no family or friends save my dog Henry. What will I do?

I will read the stories of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, of Moses and the Pharaoh, of the ten plagues, and of the Israelites fleeing Egypt into the Promised Land. I may eat some stale matzoh. Perhaps even read the Haggadah, which tells the story of the Exodus from Egypt.

I will also read of Christ’s 40 days self-imposed isolation, fasting and prayer in the desert (and not because of a Coronavirus quarantine).

And I will read of Christ’s Last Supper with his beloved and betraying disciples, his washing of their feet, of his command that the apostles ‘love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34)

I will not eat meat on Friday, perhaps fast until supper, and certainly ‘unplug’ on from 12pm – 3pm as I was ‘forced’ to do as a child (I had to sit quietly for 3 hours on Good Friday in my room without music or secular distractions—-I hated it!).

On Sunday, I will try to ‘attend’ an Easter Sunday mass on TV. And I hope to ‘Zoom’ with my family Sunday afternoon. And eat and drink a lot on Sunday night to acknowledge Christ’s resurrection…hallelujah!

It may not be such an awful Holy Week after all…just different.

Many of you might be able to relate to some of these things, and some not at all. I write of this week from my own reflections of personal traditions. The older I get, the more important these traditions are to me.

Even if you can’t relate to any of the above reflections, perhaps this time of year brings to you wonderful memories of Easter egg hunts in a park, or of the first springtime smells of a lilac bush, or the first sightings of a robin, or daffodil, or hearing Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” and understanding (and hopefully feeling) the joys of rebirth and renewal.

For regardless of your faith or lack thereof, spring seems to be a time of rebirth. I wish you all a Blessed Spring!

-Peter