Look Forward: Holy Week Services - a primer

 

Welcome to Holy Week.  A sacred and holy time for Christians around the world.  The worship we experience this week has been a part of the Christian tradition from the very beginning.  Below you will find a summary of the services to come. 

 When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, “Why are you doing this?” just say this, “The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.” ’ They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, ‘What are you doing, untying the colt?’ They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, ‘Hosanna!    Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!     Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!’   Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. - Mark 11:1-11

When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, “Why are you doing this?” just say this, “The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.” ’ They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, ‘What are you doing, untying the colt?’ They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,
‘Hosanna!
   Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! 
   Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!’

 Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. - Mark 11:1-11

 Maundy Thursday. The day of the Last Supper. Jesus and the disciples gathered in that upper room to have a meal and so, too, shall we gather to commemorate that meal. A light supper at 6:30 with activities for children will be followed by the service at 7:30.   Maundy Thursday is about recognizing Jesus' extraordinary love for all humankind and reflecting that love ourselves. We will have washing of feet, as Jesus washed the disciples feet, and commanded that they wash others'. We will sing Ubi Caritas which is translated as "Where charity and love are, there is God". The service concludes, but does not end, with the stripping of the Altar. This is the first service of the Triduum - Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil - which are considered to be a single service over three days. For anyone who has never been to any of the Triduum services, we cannot recommend it enough to deepen your understanding of Holy Week, and to heighten the joy of the resurrection on Easter Day.

Maundy Thursday. The day of the Last Supper. Jesus and the disciples gathered in that upper room to have a meal and so, too, shall we gather to commemorate that meal. A light supper at 6:30 with activities for children will be followed by the service at 7:30. 

Maundy Thursday is about recognizing Jesus' extraordinary love for all humankind and reflecting that love ourselves. We will have washing of feet, as Jesus washed the disciples feet, and commanded that they wash others'. We will sing Ubi Caritas which is translated as "Where charity and love are, there is God". The service concludes, but does not end, with the stripping of the Altar. This is the first service of the Triduum - Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil - which are considered to be a single service over three days. For anyone who has never been to any of the Triduum services, we cannot recommend it enough to deepen your understanding of Holy Week, and to heighten the joy of the resurrection on Easter Day.

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 Good Friday - the day of the crucifxion; the culmination of God's plan; the matriculation of the Christian faith. Good Friday is the middle service of the Triduum, and the most somber. The service includes the Passion Narrative from John and the adoration of the cross. The setting and liturgy are essential to fully understanding both the sorrow and the joy of Good Friday and Easter. Recognizing the sacrifice that was made for all of us builds in each of us a greater reward from Easter Day.

Good Friday - the day of the crucifxion; the culmination of God's plan; the matriculation of the Christian faith. Good Friday is the middle service of the Triduum, and the most somber. The service includes the Passion Narrative from John and the adoration of the cross. The setting and liturgy are essential to fully understanding both the sorrow and the joy of Good Friday and Easter. Recognizing the sacrifice that was made for all of us builds in each of us a greater reward from Easter Day.

 The Great Vigil of Easter. "The service begins in darkness, sometime between sunset on Holy Saturday and sunrise on Easter, and consists of four parts: The Service of Light (kindling of new fire, lighting the Paschal candle, the Exsultet); The Service of Lessons (readings from the Hebrew Scriptures interspersed with psalms, canticles, and prayers); Christian Initiation (Holy Baptism) or the Renewal of Baptismal Vows; and the Eucharist. Through this liturgy, the BCP recovers an ancient practice of keeping the Easter feast. Believers would gather in the hours of darkness ending at dawn on Easter to hear scripture and offer prayer. This night-long service of prayerful watching anticipated the baptisms that would come at first light and the Easter Eucharist. Easter was the primary baptismal occasion for the early church to the practical exclusion of all others. This practice linked the meanings of Christ's dying and rising to the understanding of baptism." - From the Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

The Great Vigil of Easter. "The service begins in darkness, sometime between sunset on Holy Saturday and sunrise on Easter, and consists of four parts: The Service of Light (kindling of new fire, lighting the Paschal candle, the Exsultet); The Service of Lessons (readings from the Hebrew Scriptures interspersed with psalms, canticles, and prayers); Christian Initiation (Holy Baptism) or the Renewal of Baptismal Vows; and the Eucharist. Through this liturgy, the BCP recovers an ancient practice of keeping the Easter feast. Believers would gather in the hours of darkness ending at dawn on Easter to hear scripture and offer prayer. This night-long service of prayerful watching anticipated the baptisms that would come at first light and the Easter Eucharist. Easter was the primary baptismal occasion for the early church to the practical exclusion of all others. This practice linked the meanings of Christ's dying and rising to the understanding of baptism." - From the Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

 Easter Day. The focal point of the entire church calendar. The day of which all Sundays are representative. Lillies and Handel and bells and fancy hats and new dresses. It is the day of joy.  From the Episcopal Dictionary of the Church - "The feast of Christ's resurrection. According to Bede, the word derives from the Anglo-Saxon spring goddess Eostre. Christians in England applied the word to the principal festival of the church year, both day and season. 1) Easter Day is the annual feast of the resurrection, the pascha or Christian Passover, and the eighth day of cosmic creation. Faith in Jesus' resurrection on the Sunday or third day following his crucifixion is at the heart of Christian belief. Easter sets the experience of springtime next to the ancient stories of deliverance and the proclamation of the risen Christ. In the west, Easter occurs on the first Sunday after the full moon on or after the vernal equinox. Easter always falls between Mar. 22 and Apr. 25 inclusive. Following Jewish custom, the feast begins at sunset on Easter Eve with the Great Vigil of Easter. The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates Easter on the first Sunday after the Jewish pesach or Passover (which follows the spring full moon). Although the two dates sometimes coincide, the eastern date is often one or more weeks later. 2) Easter Season. See Great Fifty Days. (for those curious -  you can find the Great Fifty Days here )

Easter Day. The focal point of the entire church calendar. The day of which all Sundays are representative. Lillies and Handel and bells and fancy hats and new dresses. It is the day of joy.

From the Episcopal Dictionary of the Church - "The feast of Christ's resurrection. According to Bede, the word derives from the Anglo-Saxon spring goddess Eostre. Christians in England applied the word to the principal festival of the church year, both day and season. 1) Easter Day is the annual feast of the resurrection, the pascha or Christian Passover, and the eighth day of cosmic creation. Faith in Jesus' resurrection on the Sunday or third day following his crucifixion is at the heart of Christian belief. Easter sets the experience of springtime next to the ancient stories of deliverance and the proclamation of the risen Christ. In the west, Easter occurs on the first Sunday after the full moon on or after the vernal equinox. Easter always falls between Mar. 22 and Apr. 25 inclusive. Following Jewish custom, the feast begins at sunset on Easter Eve with the Great Vigil of Easter. The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates Easter on the first Sunday after the Jewish pesach or Passover (which follows the spring full moon). Although the two dates sometimes coincide, the eastern date is often one or more weeks later. 2) Easter Season. See Great Fifty Days. (for those curious - you can find the Great Fifty Days here)