“Holy Week” is shorthand for the most significant week in the Christian calendar. The Apostle Paul wrote that if Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, then our preaching is worthless, our faith is worthless, we are still in our sins, and we are the most pathetic of all people (1 Corinthians 15:12-19). But Jesus did rise from the dead, and his defeat of death means eternal life for all who trust in him. So we approach this week with a desire to absorb all of its meaning–all that happened to Jesus, all that he taught, and what this means for our lives.
Here is a brief description of the services that will comprise our commemoration of Holy Week. I hope you will join us as often as possible to plumb the depths of what Christ has done for us.
Palm Sunday — April 1st
On Palm Sunday we will celebrate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem to shouts of “Hosanna!” (which means “Save, now!”). We try to recapture a small piece of this experience by having children walk to the front of the church, wave palm branches, and shout “Hosanna!” as we begin our worship time.
Maundy Thursday — April 5th at 6 PM in Homes
The word “Maundy” traces back to the Latin word for “commandment,” which Jesus gave his disciples at the Last Supper. His commandment was simple: love one another just as I have loved you (John 13:34). In order to best approximate the context in which Jesus shared this meal and commandment with his disciples, we have our Maundy Thursday service in homes where we share a meal, take the Lord’s supper together, and discuss what it means for us to experience Jesus’ love for us and to love one another.
Good Friday — April 6th at 6:30 PM
Our Good Friday service is one of the more meaningful times of reflection and remembering that I have experienced. We sing some hymns focusing on Jesus’ death for us, then listen to the story of Jesus’ betrayal, trial, and sufferings. The readings from the gospels are accompanied by images depicting these events in a reverent, sobering, contemplative setting.
Resurrection Sunday — April 8th at 8:30 AM
Jesus’ resurrection is the first burst of new creation in this decaying world, and we remember the early morning empty-tomb experience with an early morning service (but not too early!). We will meet at 8:30 AM to declare together, as the early church did, that “The Lord is risen! The Lord is risen indeed!” Following the service we will share a breakfast together in the back yard of the House. This is a great opportunity to invite your friends who do not know Christ and expose them to the central message of the gospel. A handful of us will be going throughout the neighborhood on Saturday to invite neighbors to the service.
May the gospel of Christ’s love in his death and resurrection for us be central to our experience this Holy Week! I look forward to walking through this sacred time with you.