As the end of the semester approaches, college life gets busier and busier. Papers, exams, and presentations pile up along with the pressure of moving and preparing for a summer internship, job, or classes. This year, it just happens to align with me for the busiest time of the Liturgical year – Holy Week and Pascha. When I first looked at the two calendars and realized finals and Holy Week would share the same dates, I was filled with horror and despair.
I was standing in church this past Sunday thinking about the two papers I have due this week, the bibliography I had yet to write for a paper I didn’t even know the topic of, the choir music I had to memorize, and the various meetings I had planned for the week.
While my brain was creating a mental to do list, my lips were moving along to the Cherubic Hymn. As I sang the words and melody by heart, I was suddenly jarred from my school stress and brought forcibly into the now. The hymnography hit me hard. “Let us lay aside all earthly cares.” I realized I was standing in the presence of God and the miracle of Holy Eucharist, yet my mind was stuck in the blackhole of school stress.
The Church, in its never-ending brilliance, gives us everything we need. Our minds naturally wander, but the church is constantly pulling us back. That’s why the priest or deacon says “Let us attend!” so many times! The Cherubic Hymn warns us of what is to come – the Holy Mystery of Communion – and gives us explicit instructions on how to prepare.
During this busy time of the semester, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and often the last thing we want to do is get up on a Sunday morning to go to Liturgy. It’s so tempting and simple to get that extra hour of sleep or studying. We cannot forget the Church, even more so as we approach Holy Week and the Lord’s triumphant Resurrection. I know for myself, attending services in the middle of a crazy week help break up the monotonous studying and refreshes me. It reminds me of what is truly important and of the eternal love of Christ for his people.