The Passiontide festival season encompasses the four Sundays and weeks before Easter, rather than the traditional seven and a half weeks of Lent. During this season, we are acknowledging our fallen nature and its weakness. It is as though we have exhausted the strength and blessings of the previous seasons. The prayers in the service speak of emptiness and lament and a grave, with just a hint of hope. Yet Christ the Awakener moves into us unseen. The black at the altar inclines us toward sadness over ourselves and over others, over what our weaknesses do today to Christ and the divine world.
Painting by Jaroslava Black, who is a priest in Cologne, Germany.