We look at the Three Days of Holy Week as one single worship celebration that lasts for three days. Each of the Three Days “tells” a different part of the story of Jesus’ saving action. We cannot separate the death of Jesus from his resurrection. The faith community gathers at various times during these days to remember and give thanks together.
You and your family are invited and encouraged to experience the fullness of the Three Days by participating in each of the worship services. To miss one of these worship services is to miss part of God’s story in Jesus. May God bless our journey, give us peace, and bring us to the fullness of faith!
Maundy Thursday (April 13 – worship at Noon and 7:00 p.m.)
The title “Maundy” comes from the Latin word for command: Jesus’ command that we are to love one another. Maundy Thursday is the first of the Three Days. On this day, we tell the story of the Passover from Exodus 12; the story of the Last Supper from 1 Corinthians; and the story of Jesus’ last meal with his disciples from the Gospel of John where we are called to love one another by serving one another in Christ’s new covenant of love.
We enact the meaning of Maundy Thursday in a variety of ways: a longer rite of confession and forgiveness; an opportunity for hand washing where we signify our love and service to one another; the celebration of Holy Communion, and the stripping of the altar.
We leave worship in silence as we are being made ready for Good Friday.
Good Friday (April 14 – worship at Noon and 7:00 p.m.)
This second of the Three Days is a day of paradox. One would think that the day commemorating the execution of a messiah would be kept in complete mourning. However, our worship on this day is marked not by excessive sorrow, as if we are pretending that Christ is still dead, but rather by solemn devotion. For even on this day we assemble as people of the resurrection. We acknowledge the cross before us as God’s gift of life.
On this day, we read the entire Passion of Jesus from the Gospel of John where the death of Jesus, is paradoxically the triumph of Christ.
We enact the meaning of Good Friday, through the ways that we reverence the Cross, through our prayers, and through a worship service that ends simply as we depart in silence.
Holy Saturday and the Vigil of Easter (April 15 – worship at 7:00 p.m.)
Just as the festivities for Christmas begin on Christmas Eve, the celebration of Easter begins at the Vigil of Easter. The service begins with the striking of a fire and the lighting of candles for everyone. Our candles proclaim the resurrection of Christ as a timeless event even now occurring. At this the third of the Three Days, we experience together the story of salvation. In this joyful worship service, we hear the stories of faith, sing the songs of the tradition, affirm our baptisms, share the bread and wine, and so be joined together with Christ as the light of the world. This full worship service ends in joy and thanksgiving for the entire assembly who gathers, not to wait, but to celebrate the resurrection.
Easter Sunday (April 16 – worship at 8:45 and 11:00 a.m.)
Every Sunday is a celebration of the Resurrection of Our Lord because “on this day” as the Eucharistic Prayer of Thanksgiving states, Christ rose from the dead. So, what makes Easter Sunday worship so special? After journeying through the 40 days of Lent and The Three Days we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus with renewed thankfulness, hope, and excitement. Our celebration of the Resurrection of Our Lord is so completely central to our faith that The Season of Easter lasts for 50 days. During this season, we will give thanks for the gift of baptism rather than offer confession and we will stand in the light of the resurrection while receiving communion rather than taking the penitential stance of kneeling.
We gather on this day, like we do on all other Sundays, to give thanks to God for the salvation that God has prepared for us through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Empowered by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God proclaimed, the waters of baptism that makes us new creations, and the meal of Christ’s body and blood, we are strengthened and sent out to bear Christ’s redeeming love to the world.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!