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What are Holy Week Services?

(This brief article will explain in part the basis of our traditional Holy Week services. If services like these are not a part of your tradition, perhaps you will consider initiating some or all of these into your worship experiences. Sections of this page may be adapted for bulletin announcements for your Holy Week worship schedule. )

Holy Week Services

During the week before Resurrection Sunday (Easter) we will relive the experiences of Jesus over the last few days before his crucifixion. We encourage you to read Matthew 26, Mark 11 -14 to refresh your memory of what Jesus experienced. Our Holy Week services will be:

Palm Sunday - Just five days before he was crucified, Jesus was publicly welcomed into Jerusalem and the temple. People hailed him as king of the Jews.

Wednesday we will have our Tenebrae service - the service of darkness where we read the entire passion of Christ.

Maundy Thursday - The night before Jesus was betrayed, he gathered all of his disciples together for dinner. Because he loved all them and wanted to continue teaching them about God's perspective on their lives, he initiated a very humble form of service to them by washing their feet. His last supper with them became what we now know as the celebration of the first Eucharist - the Great Thanksgiving or Communion. A major part of our Maundy Thursday worship will be our celebration of communion as well as washing each other's feet as a symbol of our love and humility toward one another.

Good Friday - On Friday, Jesus was betrayed by Judas, publicly tried and crucified and died a very painful death, in accordance with the eternal design by our heavenly Father. He died not for what he had done, rather what all others had done, both past, present and even we have done after his suffering. We will celebrate a drama of scripture and visual aids that will recall the sacrifice He made on our behalf and clearly focus the love he has for us. Just as that Friday ended in great sadness and death for our Lord, we will end our services not on a point of exuberance rather with the assurance that His work of suffering is sufficient for our needs. We will solemnly sing together as the altar is stripped and then leave the worship in silence and move to our reenactment Garden of Gethsemane where people will take turns praying all night;

Holy Saturday - The Easter Vigil, Following sundown on Saturday we begin the celebration of Jesus' resurrection. The service starts with a candelight procession into the church. We participate in the transition from the remembrance of Jesus' sacrifice of his life for us to the joy of his resurrection from the dead. The priest will say, "The Lord is risen!" and we respond by saying, "He is risen indeed! Alleluia!" At this point in the service are all invited to bring bells together. Throughout the service we also will sing joyful hymns about our risen Lord.

Resurrection Sunday (Easter) - We will continue the celebration of joy of the physical resurrection of our Lord. Our worship together will be quite festive and will give each of us the opportunity to offer praise and thanksgiving to our Father who gave his Son so that we might live eternally with Him. We will offer praise and thanksgiving to Jesus who was restored to life by the Father and we will offer praise and thanksgiving to the Holy Spirit who continues His active work in our lives today.

Please join us at each of these services so that you too will have the benefit of identifying with Jesus' experiences during this very important week in his life. You will be able to identify with the rejection and pain that he felt. We will celebrate the joy of the physical resurrection of our Lord. Our worship together will be solemn as well as quite festive as will be appropriate.

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