Saturday, April 16, 2011

Holy Week

Every Sunday in worship the church celebrates the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit gathers us to receive again the gifts of God that come to us through Christ, the saving Word. On several key days at the center of the church year, however, worship takes a particular shape. These central days have come to be known as the Three Days, recalling Jesus' own words to his disciples that he would be handed over to death, and that "after three days he will rise again" (Mark 10:34). The three days encompass the time from Maundy Thursday evening through the evening of Easter Day. In particular, the services of Maundy Thursday (7 p.m.), Good Friday (8 p.m.), and Easter morning (8 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.) unfold in a single movement, as the church each year makes the passage with Christ through death into life.

Maundy Thursday--On this night we begin the Three Days during which we participate once again in the saving power of Jesus' passing over from death into life. The Maundy Thursday service includes the words of Jesus' new commandment (mandatum, from which Maundy comes) to love one another. As a sign of our calling to follow Jesus' example of humility and service, children participating in the communion class this year will wash one another's feet as Jesus washed the disciples' feet. On this night in which Jesus was handed over to death we also gather around the Lord's supper. At the service's conclusion, the altar area may be stripped of furnishings as a sign of Jesus' abandonment.

Good Friday--This service continues the journey through the Three Days of Jesus' suffering, death, and resurrection At the heart of this service is the passion reading according to John, which celebrates Christ's victory on the cross. As Jesus draws all people to himself, we pray for the whole world for which Christ died. Finally, we honor the cross as the sign of forgiveness, healing, and salvation. With all God's people we are invited to bow before this mystery of faith. Christ has died, so that we may live.

[Easter Vigil- coming soon, 2012]

Easter Day--Perhaps the day of the Resurrection of our Lord is best thought of as a superb regular Sunday service. This morning is the culmination of the Three Days, a festive celebration of the eschatological hope for the fulfillment of God's promises. We proclaim, "Jesus Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!"

~ Adapted from ELW

No comments:

Post a Comment