This week was the high holy week in the Christian faith. Holy Week, in Christianity, is the last week of Lent and week before Easter.
Growing up Catholic, this was always one of the more solemn weeks of the year for me. I made it through whatever I “gave up” for the 40 days of Lent. That included no meat on Fridays but plenty of pizza, tomato soup and tuna casseroles on that day.
While in Catholic grade school in Northeast Pennsylvania, our Easter break would start on Holy Thursday. By 3:30 p.m. on Good Friday, I was usually in an alter boy’s cassock and tight shoes, sweating, holding the burning incense and/or the big liturgical book. If the older priest was doing the service, the book was at arm’s length. If the younger guy, I could lean it against my chest. Either way, the biceps burned.
Paying attention to the service was optional. I’d be trying not to pass out either from a) the heat in the church, or b) the incense filling my nostrils. We’d do the Stations of the Cross for the last time – my knees hitting the hard sacristy floor 14 times.
Down and up, down and up.
The day after Easter, Easter Monday, was reserved, usually, for going to the circus. Go figure.
In the past few years, in my travels around the world, religion….faith…churches…have always seemed to be a constant draw for me and my camera.
The beauty and majesty of a church, no matter how far outside the city limits it may be.
Maybe because it’s a constant wherever I go. No matter your faith, no matter where you, there’s a hope, a desire….a belief…that’s there is something guiding us all.
Something, someone we feel the need to be accountable to… or for.
I know what I was baptized into…what my schooling has wrought…where my faith lies. But a global view gives you just that…a global view. Who’s to say whose is right? I’s up to the individual, and where it take’s the, right?
I’ve made it a point that, no matter where I am in world, no matter which church, temple, synagogue I encounter, a prayer based in faith can’t hurt.
When I was in Shanghai, while Leslie was pregnant with Matthew, I lit incense and prayed for my family…
Other times, I’ve paused, and just been awed, by the quiet devotion.
In the end, it’s about the end,right?…Have we put forth the good effort, have we done the penance…
Where do we end up, hands crossed across our chests, boots up?
We all end up in the same, similar place, logistically speaking.
But then what?
It’s a matter of faith, no? Who’s to say which faith is right or not. It’s why I never really understood religious wars.
It’s whatever gets you through the darkest days and the deepest nights in life.
That’s what faith is, right?
Wherever you live.
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