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Holy Week @Ascension

Updated: May 1

Holy Week challenges us to step outside ourselves so asto attend to the needs of others: those who long for a sympatheticear, those in need of comfort or help. We should not simply remainin our own secure world, that of the ninety-nine sheep who never strayed from the fold, but we should go out, with Christ, in search ofthe one lost sheep, however far it may have wandered. 

Pope Francis 

Holy Week is a special time in the life of the church. The Book of Common Prayer has designated liturgies for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and The Great Vigil of Easter. To clarify the significance of this, the only other day with its own liturgy is Ash Wednesday.  Not even Christmas has its own liturgy! These liturgies help us accentuate the Gospel, the way the truth, and the life of Jesus.

On Maundy Thursday, we recall Jesus gathering with the disciples as they celebrated the Passover in Jerusalem. We commemorate the washing of feet with a ceremonial foot-washing, which reminds us that we must become servants as we seek to be Christ to others. This is also the origin of the Eucharist, so our sacrament takes additional significance to me as we worship this night.

On Good Friday, we recall Jesus's crucifixion. Often, there is a Passion reading, not unlike what we had on Palm Sunday. One principal difference is that the Good Friday Passion comes from the Gospel of John each year. This year, we will read the Stations of the Cross in place of the Passion. This short service tells the same story as the Passion Gospel, with prayers and movement interspersed. The rest of the Good Friday liturgy is also solemn and deeply meaningful.

The Easter Vigil (Saturday evening) begins with a prayer and the kindling of new light. We process into the Nave together and hear readings from the Old Testament, recalling God’s saving grace in relative darkness. Partway into this liturgy we observe the first Easter proclamation and bring the lights up for the continued service. This, along with the service on Easter morning proclaims the Risen Christ and is what our other services are modeled upon.

I hope you will join us for each of these unique liturgies. Together, they offer a deeper retelling of the story of Jesus. As we offer these prayers together, we are reminded of how Christ calls us to continue the work he began and modeled for us.


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