Two weeks before Easter we begin Passtiontide, the height and depth of our Lord’s Passion. As we get closer to our Lord’s most intense sufferings, our Lenten fast becomes more intense as well.
The sights and sounds of the service have been muted. All art-work and icons have been removed or are veiled. Even the crucifix is veiled, for we are not worthy to gaze upon our Lord. The silence in the service is increased as well. We bade farewell to the Alleluias and the Gloria in Excelsis weeks ago, and now we have also omitted the Gloria Patri (Glory be to the Father) from the Psalms. The organ also will remain silent except to support congregational singing.
These practices make the service more austere, and that is the point. We fast from sights and sounds so that, when they return on Easter morning, they stand out and more greatly accentuate our joy and celebration of a Savior who was slain and is now risen, forever living and reigning with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.