Dear Friends in Christ, We’re about to come close to the central mystery of our faith – a truth too profound to be fully understood. As Christians we proclaim that Jesus has won the victory over evil and death. It’s more than our minds can grasp. But we come close to that mystery in a unique and particularly powerful way at the Great Week, or Holy Week – especially in the Triduum, from Maundy Thursday through Easter Sunday. It can be challenging to enter Holy Week. Family commitments, work, household tasks-none of these put themselves on hold according to the church year. And yet it’s worth it. If you are a part of these liturgies, you will leave transformed in some way.
Palm Sunday, April 14: Holy Eucharist (10:00 a.m.)
We gather in the courtyard and while in procession wave palms in celebration of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Yet quickly we run into the reality of betrayal and sorrow, as the liturgy takes us into a reading of the story of the crucifixion of Jesus from Luke’s Gospel, inaugurating this week that commemorates Christ’s Passion.
Maundy Thursday, April 18: Holy Eucharist with the Washing of Hands (12:00 noon and 7:00 p.m.)
This first night of the Holy Triduum commemorates Jesus’ last supper with his disciples, when he washed their feet in loving service and instituted the Eucharist until his coming again. Worship begins with absolution and concludes with the stripping of the altar and all church decorations in preparation for Good Friday. The Triduum is one great three-day liturgy, so there is no dismissal; we reconvene the next day to continue our worship.
Good Friday, April 19: The Liturgy of Good Friday (12:00 noon and 7:00 p.m.)
There is no celebration of the Eucharist on this chief fast day of the year. Instead we gather for a solemn liturgy centered on the story of Christ’s Passion, this time from John’s Gospel. Solemn prayers and adoration of the cross of Christ are included. Once again, there is no dismissal; our liturgy continues at the Great Vigil of Easter.
Holy Saturday, April 20: The Great Vigil of Easter (7:00 p.m.)
A night like no other, the Easter Vigil is the central service of the church year. We gather in the courtyard to kindle the new fire of Easter. We retell the sacred stories of God’s people by candlelight. We remember our baptism when we were joined into the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection. And finally, we proclaim the arrival of Easter with the celebration of the Eucharist, joyful to be feasting once again. This is a long service filled with profound spiritual power. A ‘breaking the fast’ reception follows in the Parish Hall.
Easter Sunday, April 21: Holy Eucharist (10:00 a.m.)
After last night’s journey into Easter, this morning’s service extends the celebration as we welcome newcomers and visitors, launch into beloved Easter hymns, enjoy special music, and celebrate the Eucharist once more.
Worship is preceded by an Easter Breakfast at 9:00 a.m. in the Parish Hall and is followed by a time for refreshments, celebration and an Easter Egg Hunt for all the children.
Please plan to participate in as much of Holy Week as you possibly can. For those who can’t be here for some or all of this journey, know that Holy Week is a community effort your church family is celebrating with you and for you, even when you’re not physically present. Please let us know if we can hold you in our prayers in worship during Holy Week, or if you would like a visit in the days after.
Blessings to you on your Holy Week journey.