Each season of the liturgical year is like a room full of beautiful artifacts and experiences that we spend a number of days or weeks exploring. As we move from room to room in this narrative house, we must pass through various doorways. The connections between seasons are sometimes referred to as hinge Sundays because they help us swing freely between one season and the next.
Transfiguration Sunday and Ash Wednesday act as hinges between Epiphany and Lent. The contrast between these two events could not be more stark: mountain top to the dust of earth, glory to repentance, external wonder to internal reflection. In order to navigate these major transitions, the liturgical designers have shaped the week between Epiphany and Lent so that we have time to move from one place to another, from one emotion through to the next. Sometimes the shift comes quickly, as does the daily shift from Good Friday to Holy Saturday to Easter Sunday. But the shift from Epiphany gives us a full 10 days of movement, from the last Sunday of Epiphany through Transfiguration Sunday to Ash Wednesday. Instead of a quickly swinging door, we have a longer hallway to traverse as we move from one room to the next.
This gives us time to process and prepare as we contemplate the shift and create space and openness for what we will experience next.
Without these intentional hinges, there is a temptation to move ahead without preparation, and to miss things that might otherwise come to our attention. What wonders and mysteries were revealed in Epiphany that we want to take with us into Lent? What wonders and mysteries might await us during Lent? How do we hold these elements together? What connects one to the other? The week between invites us to ask these, and other, defining questions. What practices will help you to ask questions and listen for answers? Don’t miss the opportunity to take a moment to pause between rooms.
This week’s playlist includes four of J.S. Bach’s earlier cantatas. These links take you to the translations: BVW 83, BWV 84, BWV 85, BWV 86. The recording features Helmut Rilling conducting a variety of instrumentalists and soloists.