Holy Week Services
Holy Week is the most sacred week of the Christian Church year. We are asked to remember and experience again the week that changed the world and has the power to change us. In much of our society it will simply be another week. As Christians who know Christ’s passion was for us and our salvation, it is a powerful week where strong emotions may be present, especially the feeling that we are deeply loved by God.
The following services are planned to help us experience the events and the love of that first Holy Week. May God bless our worship and draw us throughout this week and the events of it, closer to our God.
PALM SUNDAY – April 17 8:15 & 11:00 AM
With joyful worship, a Palm Sunday Processional and the Celebration of Holy Communion we remember Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Hosanna (save now!) is also our cry. Blessed is the One Who comes in the name of the Lord. Crosses made from Palms will be distributed to take home. These come from Africa and are made by villagers who supplement their meager incomes. Money raised also helps with vocational training, schools and other projects. (Please see p. in this Newsletter for further details.
THE THREE DAYS (THE TRIDUUM) Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the Vigil of Easter
“The Three Days, or Triduum, slows down time as we move through the climax of the story of faith, Jesus’ betrayal, death, and resurrection. Worship throughout the rest of the year skims the surface in some ways, whisking us through the story of Jesus’ life. But in these three days we linger. There is so much centered here. We have to take our time to be able to receive it.”
“Worship over these three days will cover it all – creation and redemption, death and life, fire and water, desolation and celebration. These days enact and great Christian drama and the worship services are, in many ways, dramas that embody the story, the tensions, and the teachings of the very core of our faith.” (Sundays and Seasons 2004, p.158, Augsburg Fortress Press)
Maundy Thursday April 21 7:30 PM
We remember that it was on this night that Jesus celebrated a Passover Meal with His disciples and gave us the new meal we call Holy Communion. This Maundy Thursday, 13 of our young prople will receive Holy Communion for the first time.
On this holy night we remember Jesus’ betrayal, his agony in the garden, his arrest and Peter’s denial. The altar is stripped, symbolic that our Savior is now stripped of his freedom and the words of Psalm 22 are remembered as we prepare for Good Friday.
Good Friday April 22 7:30 PM (Holy Communion is not celebrated)
We remember Jesus’ agonizing death for us and for our salvation. Through Scripture, hymnody and prayer we ponder his trial, his torture, his carrying the cross to Golgotha, his crucifixion and burial. The final words our Savior spoke from the cross are heard as the lights of the Sanctuary are dimmed. We leave the Church in darkness and silence this night.
The Vigil of Easter – The First Service of Easter April 23 8:30 PM
This ancient service of the Church begins outside with a fire. The Paschal Candle is lit from the new fire and tapers are in turn lit from the Paschal Candle. The congregation will proceed to the Fellowship Hall for the Service of Readings.
The Vigil of Easter contrasts light and darkness, slavery and freedom, death and life. We celebrate God’s victory over everything that would separate people from God.
At the end of the service of Readings we will once again light our tapers and proceed to the sanctuary for the reading of the Easter Gospel. As the Sanctuary of fully lit, we extinguish our tapers and join in the hymn, “Jesus Christ is Risen Today”. The congregation is invited to bring small bells which can be wrung during the singing of the hymn as the alleluias of Easter are sung. On this holy night, four people will receive the gift of Holy Baptism.
Worshippers are invited to bring a coffee mug with them. After the Service a small candle will be lit from the Paschal Candle and you are invited to safely transport the candle home. If you leave your home dark, when you re-enter with the candle lit, may it represent the light of the Risen Christ in your home.