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Join Us for Holy Week Services

This Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week — the pinnacle of the church year.  The week begins with Jesus’ triumphant return to Jerusalem which was celebrated on Palm Sunday (April 9) at the 10:30 service of worship.  This time of triumph is then juxtaposed with the solemnity of Maundy Thursday and the sorrow of Good Friday.  The Easter Vigil on Saturday night before Easter morning is a beautiful service of darkness and light, symbolic of the return of the “light of the world.”

On the night before his crucifixion, Jesus’ dined with his disciples before assuming the role of servant by washing his disciples’ feet.  He did this to demonstrate his love for them and his willingness to be their servant.  He enjoins them (and us) to do the same by washing each other’s feet and, furthermore, he issues “a new commandment, that you love one another … as I have loved you.”  This command (mandatum in Latin) may be the origin of the Maundy in Maundy Thursday.  At Redeemer, we will celebrate the Maundy Thursday liturgy with Holy Communion and an optional rite of foot washing on Thursday April 13 at 7:00 p.m. At the conclusion of the Maundy Thursday liturgy, we leave in silence — no sending song, no blessing — only the rustle of clothes, the soft sound of footsteps, feet freshly washed and covered again, moving into the night.

We return to continue the service of Tenebrae (shadows) on Good Friday (April 14) at 7:00 p.m. A distinctive aspect of this service is the use of what is called the Tenebrae “hearse,” the holder of lit candles which are extinguished, one by one, within the reading of the Passion according to John, the ancient gospel narrative for the day.  The Passion chronicles the events of Holy Week.  The descent into darkness and gloom is a representation of Jesus’ increasing sorrow as the events of Holy Week unfold.  Toward the end of the service worshipers may be a loud noise (strepitus) which symbolizes the closing of Christ’s tomb. The procession of the cross and adoration of the crucified Christ become the primary symbolic actions of this day.  The procession has an important connection to the procession of the paschal candle during the Easter Vigil.  The intercessory prayers extend intentionally and fully to all of humanity and all of creation, including prayers for those who do not believe in God, and everyone, everywhere, in any kind of need.   The liturgy ends with Christ exalted on the cross, an image from John’s gospel. Again we depart in contemplative silence, knowing the service continues at the Easter Vigil.

We begin the Great Vigil of Easter (April 15 at 7:00 p.m.) by lighting a new fire, visible from the church, the lawn and the highway.  The light is carried in procession into the church, lighting the way for those who follow.  With scriptures, psalms, and singing, as the light slowly increases, we recount our history in both Old and New Testament readings.   Through these readings and dramatic presentations we recount the significant events for all Christianity.  Important parts of the service are our reaffirmation of Baptism and the celebration of Holy Communion.

 

 

 

Palm Sunday Worship             Sunday April 9 at 10:30 a.m.

Maundy Thursday Worship     Thursday April 13 at 7:00 p.m.

Good Friday Worship               Friday April 14 at 7:00 p.m.

Great Vigil of Easter                 Saturday April 15 at 7:00 p.m.

Easter Breakfast                       Sunday April 16 at 9:00 a.m.

Easter Morning Worship         Sunday April 16 at 10:30 a.m.

Come, join us.  All are welcome!