The stores are becoming filled with spring things. While shopping, you may have noticed that the seasonal departments are beginning to be filled with all kinds of items that we use outdoors, from gardening items to patio furniture. In other parts of the store, you may have noticed the pastel-coloured Easter decorations, the chocolate bunnies, candies, and egg colouring kits. After months of dark, dreary, and cold days, the signs of the world coming alive again make us happy and give us hope. It is during spring, that the Church marks Holy Week and celebrates Easter.
During Holy Week, we mark the events in the final days of Jesus’ life on earth. Jesus did not try to escape what was to happen, even with the knowledge that he would suffer and die. Jesus endured everything because he loved all the people of the world and trusted God. We call it Holy Week because the focus of the week is on God and what God did for us, through Jesus Christ.
Palm Sunday (March 28, 2021)
Palm Sunday falls on the Sunday before Easter. On this day, the Church commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem when crowds of people gathered and placed palm branches along his path. When we can gather for in-person for worship, we bless palm branches and walk in procession into the church building carrying those palm branches. This year, we will see a video of people waving palm branches as we hear the biblical account of Jesus’ entry into the city. Then, as we sing the processional hymn, we will reflect on the Jesus’ journey into the city, a journey that will lead to his betrayal, trial, and death. Palm Sunday marks the first day of Holy Week, the last week of the season of Lent.
Maundy Thursday (April 1, 2021)
Maundy Thursday is the first day of the Triduum (three days). It is the Thursday before Easter and commemorates Jesus Christ’s institution of Holy Communion when he celebrated his last Passover meal with the disciples.
Maundy Thursday Worship Service – as hosted by Grace Lutheran Church (We will post here when available.)
At Grace, our worship service begins with an introduction to Maundy Thursday and the Triduum. We then confess our sins and receive forgiveness. Throughout the service, we will sing hymns. Lessons are read about the Passover, the institution of the Eucharist, and Jesus taking on the role of a servant by washing the disciples’ feet and the mandate that he gave to the disciples to love one another as he had loved them. Our worship then moves to a celebration of Holy Communion, the Eucharist. We invite households to place bread and wine on a table where they are participating in the service. After the pastor blesses the bread and wine through prayer and with the Words of Institution, we provide an option of Spiritual Communion for households who are not able to partake of the Eucharist in their homes. Then the households who will eat and drink of the consecrated elements, Christ’s body and blood, are instructed on to receive the Eucharist in their homes. The worship service concludes with the stripping of the altar as a psalm is sung. We end our worship in silence.
Good Friday (April 2, 2021)
On Good Friday, the second day of the Triduum, we are reminded of the day experienced by Jesus and his disciples during which Jesus was crucified and buried.
Good Friday Worship Service – as hosted by St Cuthbert’s (We will post here when available.)
At St. Cuthbert’s, the Good Friday worship begins with the Ministry of the Word, including the Passion account from John’s Gospel, followed by the Solemn Intercessions, the Meditation on the Cross of Jesus, and the offering of Spiritual Communion to close out our service together. During this worship service, we are going to engage in a practice called Spiritual Communion. Because we are unable to gather in person for our sacred meal, we will do what Christians have done since the earliest days of the church when they have not been able to share the bread and wine of the Eucharist together. We will express our desire for Jesus by quietly praying a prayer that expresses our need to be nourished by the body and blood of our Lord in unity with our sisters and brothers in Christ.
Good Friday Worship Service – as hosted by Holy Spirit of Peace (We will post here when available.)
At Holy Spirit of Peace, Good Friday is marked with a quiet, prayerful, reflective service. We hear familiar passages from Isaiah and Hebrews that offer a lens through which to view Christ's actions on that day and their eternal impact. We pray the bidding prayers, a series of intercessions for the church, creation and all God's people throughout the world. We journey together through the Stations of the Cross, hearing the story of Jesus' passion and pausing at each station for personal reflection and prayer. The service concludes with a Litany of Confession modeled on the Solemn Reproaches of the Cross, a traditional Good Friday liturgy first used in the Middle Ages. We then depart in silent contemplation. We hope joining us for Good Friday will deepen and enrich your Holy Week experience this year.
Easter Sunday (April 4, 2021)
Easter Sunday is the third day of the Triduum. On this day, we celebrate Jesus Christ’s victory over death, as God raised him from the dead. The pain, darkness, and sorrow that was experienced on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday has been taken away by God, because we know that death does not have the final word. As God raised Jesus, from the dead, God will also give us new life.
As we see the signs of spring around us, both in the stores and in the outside world, let us look beyond the items. May the bright colours remind you of the brightness of God’s presence. As you crack open the shells of the Easter eggs, think about how Jesus broke out of the tomb. As you taste the sweet chocolate bunnies and candies may it remind you of the sweet love of Jesus. When you see growing flowers and greening grass and plants, remember that who once was dead is now alive. Allelluia, Christ Is Risen!