A Most Important Week 2018

Dear Friends

Holy Week is fast approaching. Some of you have may have not grown up with the celebration of holy week. So I’m here to tell you why these services are so important to you as a Christian person.  The Church is very passionate about Holy Week and has been since the start. I am personally very passionate about it; it is where Jesus first clearly and personally chose to reveal himself to me. It’s a reality that has sustained me for almost 4 decades and is constantly renewed.

 

Reason 1. Come and follow Jesus.

The services will walk you through the last week of Jesus’ life one day at a time. This is the most important week in human history. You will want to be there.  In this week we start on Palm Sunday with the Parade of the Palms and the story from the Passion. On Maundy Thursdays we recall and re-enact the Last Supper the night before Jesus died and enact what he did there; through Good Friday when we see and touch his cross; to Easter Vigil when Light bursts forth in the new fire that we light outside of the church as night comes on. 
 

 

Reason 2. They are, in their own way, very intergenerational.

These liturgies impact the imaginations of young children in a way that a thousand VegiTale videos can’t (as great as Bob the Tomato is!) Water, light, darkness – these are things everybody understands deep in their souls. Having your feet washed by the priest or processing the body and blood of Christ to the side altar to be with Christ for a few moments as the disciples were (asked to be) at Gethsemane say it all, in a deeply memorable way.

 

Reason 3. We been doing it for centuries.

These are most ancient liturgies of the Church. We worship using the forms that the earliest Christians used because we are connected in this week across 2000 years.

 

Reason 4. Easter is out of context without Holy Week.

We are deeply into a mystery this week which makes Easter make a lot more sense and even more joyful. When we have held the palms leaves, waited with him in the garden, touched his cross and seen the first light of Easter in the darkness, Easter is much clearer. Yes we want the joy of Easter. The way of the Cross comes first.

 

Reason 5. Come and follow Jesus.

This is reason 1 again. You will though this week, by the grace of God, learn to know Christ better, love him more deeply and follow him more closely.
 
 
 
 
— Father Greg
 
 
 
 
 
 
Are you interested what happens at the various services this week? Read on…
 

What Are the Services of Holy Week?

 

Palm/Passion Sunday

We gather at our usual time. We remember today Jesus’ great entry into Jerusalem when he was hailed as King. And so we all receive palm branches and process around the Church. We also remember how we soon turned against him. And so we read the story of Jesus’ death from the gospel of Mark. It will not be the only time we read about his death this week.

 

Maundy Thursday

“Maundy” comes from a Latin word which means “commandment”.  We recall and re-enact Jesus’ Last Supper with his friends “a new commandment I give you” he said, “that you love one another as I have loved you.” Maundy. His love for his disciples was shown in two ways. He washed their feet. This was the work of a very lowly servant. It was shocking to the disciples. God, in the flesh, acting as a slave, washing the feet of these men, some of whom were about to desert, deny and even betray him. The priest will take of his vestments and you are invited to come forward and allow him to wash your feet so that you can be served in humility (it is your choice if you come forward). We also, in the Eucharist, remember that he instituted the Eucharist, another way he would give himself away to us — “Take, eat, this is my body. Drink, this is my blood”. Again to these same men. To us.

We then take the consecrated bread and wine (the Blessed Sacrament of his Body and Blood) and we all join together to process it to the side altar (the “altar of repose”). We sing briefly and wait for a few moments with Jesus – as he asked his friends to wait and pray for him the night before his death.

 

Good Friday

This day has a deep quietness over it. The clergy enter and kneel before the altar in silence. Today we hear the Story of the Passion from John’s gospel. This gospel speaks of the profound love of God for us in the death of God the Son. The cross will be brought forward and we will have the chance to come forward ourselves, place our hands on it and offer our deepest prayer to him. Today the Eucharist cannot be celebrated; we receive from that same sacrament which was consecrated on Maundy Thursday. “No greater love…than that a man should lay down his life for his friends”, Jesus says in John. We leave in silence.

That afternoon the clergy will be available to hear the confessions of those who wish to celebrate this sacrament.

 

Holy Saturday

As the night begins to fall we light the first great light of Easter in a fire outside of the Church. The light has conquered. Christ is Risen!  We process into the church ,each with our own small Easter candle around the Great Easter Candle. We remember that God freed the slaves from Egypt and he frees us now. We renew and reclaim our baptism. From darkness to light. Easter has begun. This is the most ancient of our liturgies and very beautiful!