Holy Week is the final week of Lent and marks an intense time of preparing for Easter. We give our strongest efforts toward Repentance, Renewal and Community with fasting, giving and prayer. During Holy Week Christians not only read scripture, but LIVE in the story.
The week begins with Palm Sunday when we remember Jesus’ inaugural parade to his final ministry in Jerusalem. We wave palms in morning worship echoing the people who celebrated Jesus’ triumphal entry in all four Gospels. We all celebrate the coming Messiah that God promised to us so long ago.
Monday - Wednesday we read aloud with friends and family the teachings of Jesus during his last week of ministry. Matthew 21-25, Mark 11-13, Luke 19-21, & John 12 teach us in distinctive ways and together show us the dimension of God’s grace. Maundy Thursday we remember Jesus’ time in the Upper Room where he washes the disciple’s feet, calls us to serve one another and shares the Lord’s Supper. This year, In an evening worship service, adults and youth will gather in the Sanctuary while children gather in the education wing to experience serving one another. This is not the Jewish practice of a Passover meal, because we respect the integrity of their holy traditions as different than ours. Rather it is a time for adults and youth to move to the Fellowship Hall where we will share in a simple supper and Holy Communion.
Good Friday we remember the day that Jesus was crucified. While it certainly isn’t a “good” day, it is the day God redeemed all the world through Jesus’ sacrifice. We mourn Jesus’ arrest, trial and death and so we gather in worship that evening. In this time of somber reflection, we will read the Gospel of John, strip the altar bare to signify Jesus’ death and our sorrow. We will extinguish the candles which represent the Light of the World, including the Christ Candle that was lighted at Christmas. At the end of this service we leave in silence.
Black Saturday is the day of silence and ends at dusk. When Jesus was in the tomb, Jesus’ followers and friends thought all was lost.
Easter is the day of Resurrection, when we sing Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen indeed! As morning dawns, death falls away, and we gather in worship to celebrate the awesome power of God. The tomb was empty and we gather to sing that death does not have the last word. This morning the cross blooms with grace, Jesus reminds us that the world matters and God has not given up on us! We bring flowers to place on the cross and children hunt Easter eggs to celebrate the new life Jesus promises us. This Easter, April 16, will you invite friends, neighbors, and family to take a step toward the cross with you? Will you share your faith in the resurrected son of God and invite them to come with you to meet joy? This Easter I hope you will hear the echos of Love Everyone, Always and risk sharing the Love of Jesus with someone through worship.