1. Palm Sunday 2002 in New York City - When I was growing up, the North Alabama Conference of the UMC used to take a trip to NYC every year during spring break for high school juniors and seniors focused on social issues. I went in the spring of 2002, so the focus for our trip was (pretty obviously) terrorism, international relations, and religious pluralism. We were gone over Holy Week and attended the Palm Sunday service at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. While there, a lady showed us how to weave our palms into crosses. I couldn't do it, but thankfully one of our group members did mine for me. After I got home I framed it up with other mementos from that trip and it hung in my room forever. I still have it and want to re-frame it to look a little bit nicer.
2. Stations of the Cross around the Lake - Once or twice that I can remember growing up, my home church had a big Easter picnic/egg hunt at the home of some members who had a ton of property that included a lake with a trail around it. While the kids got to play, the adults were able to walk the stations of the cross that were set up around the lake with a "leader" at each station reading a devotion or prayer. I never got to participate in walking the stations because I always got tapped to be a station "leader" but I loved the peace and quiet of sitting between the groups to think and pray in the beauty of nature.
3. Holy Thursday Service - This is the one "special" service I lead each year and it's one of my favorites. I sort of combine the Thursday and Friday services, and after communion I re-tell the story of the crucifixion. It's a dark, quiet, reflective service which is the kind that I really love. In spite of leading, the pace makes it so that I can stop and reflect as well.
4. Making RCIA Candles - Before my step-mom was my step-mom, she was a good friend of my family's. She taught RCIA classes for her Catholic church, and always made the RCIA candles for the Easter Vigil. The year before my mom died, Catherine brought over all her stuff and my mom and I helped her make the candles. It was a lot of fun to sit and talk while we made the candles, and it's a really special memory that I have of two very special women in my life.
5. Easter Egg Hunt - This has been the one "constant" of the churches I have worked at, and they never fail to be a ton of fun. Anything involving little kids hyped up on sugar seems to exemplify "celebration" to me!
Bonus: What piece of music "is" Holy Week? - The first one that jumps to mind is "Were You There?" I first learned that one during my NYC trip so it's always been special to me for that reason. I think because I was older when I learned it and I was able to connect it with a special experience I've never taken it for granted.
My second one is "Via Dolorosa" sung by my friend Daniel. Nobody does it as well as he does (at least in my mind!)