When Holy Week and Spring Break collide

Maybe it’s just my imagination, but it seems like it happens every year now: Spring Break and Holy Week overlap. And all our best laid plans for a meaningful Holy Week narrative arc are disrupted by ski trips or choir tours or family vacations. And really there’s nothing to be done about it.

Or maybe there is, and I’m just not thinking of it. My original plan for this post was to come up with 3 or 5 or 7 ways to navigate this overlap: providing emails that carry families through the week, for example, or things they can take with them, or…well, that’s where my imagination failed me.

And the truth is, I don’t believe an email is quite the same as the gathering together because so much of Holy Week is about the actions we take together (at least in my Episcopal tradition): the procession with the palms, the washing of feet, the stripping of the altar, the stations of the cross, the Great Vigil of Easter.

And at the same time, I cannot help but feel that families have few options when it comes to scheduled school breaks.  If you’re going to travel together as a family, spring break is the time to do it. If schools are going to have tours or activities that don’t disrupt their educational schedule, spring break is the time to do it.

I’m wondering if we are in part victims of our own cultural success. This was, after all, originally Easter break or Easter vacation. In a way, the Church has been hoist upon its own petard.

But again, I don’t want to blame anyone. I also, unhelpfully, don’t have any solutions. I think the thing I’m coming to is that this is an excellent opportunity for us in the Church to practice some cultural humility: to recognize that the world is not going to bend to our desires. After all, isn’t this what Jesus taught us? Isn’t this what Holy Week is all about? And yet, and yet, in the quiet of a Sunday morning, with no one else around, a small group of women will discover the empty tomb and the resurrection will once again be proclaimed.

A blessed Holy Week to you, wherever you may be.

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