WEEKLY REFLECTION | March 24, 2024 – A Field Guide to Holy Week Worship

A Field Guide to Holy Week Worship

Worship from Palm Sunday through Easter Day includes a number of customs and arrangements that are peculiar to Holy Week.

Every year we make a small number of minor changes in an attempt to get these liturgies “right.” Right doesn’t mean following a prescriptive guide, but mediating between the customs and expectations of this parish, and the deeper currents at work in the liturgies and the holiness of the week. Not to mention making adjustments to keep people as safe as possible from COVID.

On Palm Sunday, the 9:00 service will commence with the blessing of the Palms in the parish hall, weather permitting (in the church, if not). We process with Palms from the parish hall outside and around the church, remembering Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. The processional hymn (“All Glory, Laud, and Honor”) begins as we enter the church. We read the Passion Gospel on Palm Sunday, which gives us a preview of the moving events of Holy Week. The service concludes with a postlude meditation on our closing hymn “Beneath the Cross of Jesus”, as we enter into the mysteries of Holy Week.

Field note: Please come early enough to join us in the parish hall. If you arrive at the church during the procession, please WAIT until after the Entry Procession, and ask the ushers for a blessed palm. If you do not wish to make the processional walk, feel free to take seats in the church and the ushers will hand blessed palms to you once they arrive. If you are not able to stay the extra 5 minutes for the postlude, feel free to leave, but please depart in silence.

Holy Wednesday, traditionally called “Spy Wednesday” reminds us of how Judas plotted to betray Jesus. Noonday prayer at 12:00 on zoom.

Maundy Thursday always presents special requirements as we move from the early part of Holy Week into the solemn time of the Triduum (Three Days).

Field Note: Please do observe quiet in the church from 6:45 p.m. on, where the service will commence at 7:00 p.m. This is a somewhat longer service than usual, because it helps us enter into the last days of Jesus’ life.

After the final Blessing, the Holy Sacrament will be carried out. You may wish to kneel or bow. As the Sacrament passes by the baptismal font, we recognize the unity of our share in Christ’s suffering in the Sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Eucharist.

After the Sacrament has been removed, the congregation will observe another moment of silence before beginning to read Psalm 22 while the Altar and Chancel is stripped. The Psalm will pause after verse 21 to allow participants to finish the stripping before the concluding “Praise the Lord ” verses 22-30 in the chastened church.

Field Note: After the psalm, the people leave in silence. (Note: these instructions will be repeated during the announcements.) The Sacrament will be returned to the altar for half an hour following the close of the service, for those of you who wish to spend some time in prayer and meditation. PLEASE HONOR THOSE KEEPING VIGIL, BY BEING AS QUIET AS POSSIBLE.

The Good Friday services are the simplest of all, and involve extensive silence and meditation. There will be a “Stations of the Cross” service on zoom at 12:00 noon, as we walk with Jesus on his way to crucifixion. At the 7:00 service, the cross pauses at three places in the church (“We glorify your cross, O Lord…”) to allow us to bow and witness Jesus’ passing by as he stumbles toward Golgotha.

The Holy Saturday liturgy (10:00 a.m. on zoom) mirrors the Service for Burial. Those who have lost loved ones are especially invited to this brief service in preparation for the joy of Easter.

Easter Day service at 9:00 will provide the opportunity to rejoice in the Resurrection! Following the service, there will be take-away treats. Weather permitting, there will be an Easter Egg Hunt outdoors for the kids following the
service. (In the parish hall if the weather is poor.)

Field Note: Please allow extra time for parking on this Day, when many people and families attend. You may wish to drop off anyone who cannot walk several blocks, either at the side Office entrance or in front of the church.

Bring bells to ring joyously at the Gloria, as the shouts of ALLELUIA arise!

Then prepare for 40 days of rejoicing!

Coming Up

  • March 31: Easter Morning service**
  • April 5: Pasta Potluck Dinner at 6:00
  • Wednesdays, noonday prayer via zoom at 12:00
  • Mondays and Fridays, morning prayer via zoom at 8:00

Holy Week Schedule

  • Wednesday, March 27, 12:00 Holy Wednesday service (zoom)
  • Thursday, March 28, 7:00 Maundy Thursday service (in person and live-streamed)
  • Friday, March 29, 12:00 Good Friday Stations of the Cross (zoom)
    7:00 Good Friday service (in person and live-streamed)
  • Saturday, March 30, 10:00 Holy Saturday service (zoom)
  • Sunday, March 31, 9:00 Easter Day service!!!! (in person and live-streamed)
    Easter Egg Hunt following the service

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