Palm Sunday and Holy Week are the central days in the church year. These holy days remind us of the last hours of Jesus’ earthly life, which culminates with this death on the cross on Good Friday. With the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night and the Holy Eucharist on Easter Day, we celebrate the ressurrection and the presence of the Risen Christ with us!
In order to experience the full joy and celebration of Easter, it is important for us to immerse ourselves as fully as possible in the liturgical and worship offerings of Holy Week and to walk with Jesus through his last days.
As in past years, we will gather at the beginning of our worship time in the rear of the church at the 8 a.m. service, and out front for the10 a.m. service, for the Palm Sunday liturgy and distribution of the palms. We will then process, as Jesus did on the first Palm Sunday, back into the church sanctuary. We will then move with Jesus to his Last Supper (for us, the peace, offertory and Holy Eucharist), followed by the narrative reading of the Passion Gospel, which continues the journey through Jesus’ prayers, betrayal and arrest in the garden, to his trial, suffering and death on the cross. At the conclusion of the Passion Gospel, our service will be over and we will depart in silence. While the order of this Palm Sunday worship service is a little bit different it should prove to be spiritually powerful and enriching.
Later in Holy Week, the Eucharist will be celebrated at 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday. On Maundy Thursday, we will celebrate the potluck Seder Supper and Eucharist, which is an informal meal setting in which we recount the Last Supper and its comparisons to the Jewish Passover Seder. This gathering is a wonderful social and educational time for parishioners of all ages, and culminates with the Holy Eucharist at the dinner table, much like Jesus and his friends shared the Passover meal/Last Supper. (Please sign up on the poster outside of the church office to indicate that you will attend and what you will be able to bring to share!)
On Good Friday, the solemn Good Friday liturgy will be observed at 12 noon and again at 7 p.m., when the Sunday School will present music and the Passion Pageant. The Easter celebrations will begin at the Easter Vigil after sundown (i.e., 7:15 pm this year) on Holy Saturday with the lighting of the Paschal Fire, renewal of baptismal vows and the Eucharist. The Easter celebration continues with the Holy Eucharist on Easter Day, at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.
I look forward to being with you as we journey with Jesus through Palm Sunday and Holy Week, and experience the joy of the Resurrection on Easter Day!