Holy Week is the most important week of the Christian year, and we are in the thick of it. During Holy Week we remember and enter into Jesus’ final days and hours as he walked resolutely toward the cross. If ever you’ve wanted to enter into devotional acts to our Lord and savior, this is the week to do it. If Lent wasn’t working out the way you thought, this is the week to renew your disciplines and self-examination. If ever you wanted to be immersed in something bigger than yourself for the sake of the worship of almighty God, this is the week.
Below are some things we’ll be doing together as a community as well as a description of the upcoming days.
Maundy Thursday, 7 pm
Maundy Thursday has a peculiar name, but the origins are very clear and specific. On this day we remember Jesus’ final evening with the disciples before he is betrayed, arrested, and eventually crucified. In John’s Gospel narrative (John 13), Jesus washes his disciples’ feet and gives them a “new commandment” in a beautiful act of self-giving (see 13:31ff). The Latin phrase for “new commandment” is mandatum novum and is the derivative for the word maundy.
Also on this evening, Jesus celebrates his final meal with his friends, which is the institution of the Lord’s Supper. During this meal he washes his disciples’ feet. Accordingly, on our Maundy Thursday service we will celebrate the last Holy Communion until Easter Day, and will include a time where we can wash each other’s feet. Afterwards the altar will be stripped of its accouterments and a somber foreshadowing of Christ’s suffering and death will be dramatized before us.
Good Friday, 12 pm
It is hard to imagine what is “good” about someone being crucified unjustly. But because we know the whole story, we know Good Friday is indeed good because it is God’s Friday. It is the watershed of all history. It is the moment in which he became sin, who knew no sin, that we might become the righteousness of God. To enter into contemplation of Jesus’ supreme and atoning sacrifice, we will meditate on the Stations of the Cross. We will remember 14 scenes of Christ’s walk down the path to Golgotha (called Via Dolorosa, or Way of Suffering) where finally he will be lifted up to draw all men to himself.
Holy Saturday (no services at ASED)
This is a day for quiet prayer, reflection, and meditating on God’s word. It’s a final moment of waiting for the victory we know is coming. It’s the day that Jesus laid in the tomb, a day when, for his friends and followers, all hope was lost. Perhaps it was a day he rested from his labors or even a day when the Enemy of God and his people thought he had finally conquered. But we know better. We know the rest of the story.
Easter Day, 5 pm
Where can we begin to describe the jubilation and utter celebration that will take place on this the day of resurrection? Easter Day is the first day of the new creation, the day of our hope and longing and the feast that ends our Lenten and Holy Week fast. Not only this, but Easter Day begins the Great Fifty Days of Easter leading up to Pentecost. In these Fifty Days we remember Jesus’ appearances to his friends after his resurrection, and look forward to the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.
I hope you’re able to enter into the mysteries of God’s salvation in Christ this week. Join us for these services. Pray, read and meditate on God’s holy word, and let us watch with him these next few days.