As we move ever closer to Easter, you may have heard an announcement in church or overheard one of your friends talking about Holy Week.
But what is Holy Week? Why do Christians celebrate it?
And what the heck is a Triduum?!?
In the earliest years of the church, devout Christians would travel to Jerusalem during Passover to reenact—and in some ways, relive—the events of the week leading up to the Resurrection.
This profound act of remembering Christ’s ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection served as a way for the earliest Christian believers to grow in their own faith by recalling the formative and foundational events of their faith.
By retelling the story year after year,
we remember the why behind the what of our faith.
Holy Week starts with Palm Sunday and goes all the way through Easter Sunday. This is the most important week in the life of a Christian.
And the pinnacle of Holy Week is the Great Three Days of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Rather than three distinct worship services, these separate liturgies are best seen as one large complete worship service over the course of three days. Collectively known as the Triduum (trid-doo-um)—which is Latin for “three days”—these three worship services are the most important worship events in the midst of the most important week in the life of a Christian.
Taken all together, the worship services of Holy Week give us the most complete picture of the fundamental people, places, events, and beliefs of the Christian faith.
You are invited to join us as we journey this holiest of weeks together.
All services are held at New Hope Lutheran Church.
Palm Sunday – Sunday, April 9, 2017 at 8:00am and 10:30am
We’ll hear from the Gospel of Matthew and recount Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. We’ll begin outside, waving our palm branches and shouting “Hosanna!” as we celebrate the king who rode a donkey rather than a valiant horse, who wore a dusty cloak rather than fine linens, and who would later ascend a cross rather than a throne.
Also known as the Sunday of the Passion, we’ll also hear Matthew’s account of the crucifixion.
Maundy Thursday – Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 7:00pm
Taken from the Latin word for “commandment,” we’ll retell the story of Jesus with his disciples when he washed their feet and gave them a mandatum novum—a new commandment—that we should love one another as Jesus loved us.
We mark the official end of Lent by receiving individual absolution, or forgiveness—the oil marking the cross on our forehead just as the ashes did on Ash Wednesday. We’ll remember the new commandment by having our own feet washed, and we’ll share in the meal that Jesus shared with his friends.
We’ll conclude by stripping the altar, as Jesus would be stripped of his clothes before being handed over to be crucified.
Good Friday – Friday, April 14, 2017 at 7:00pm
In this solemn service of fading light, we’ll hear John’s account of Christ’s Passion and ponder the mystery and majesty of the cross. The Passion will also be performed in mime and the service will end with an opportunity to venerate the Cross, showing reverence to this instrument of death that God used to redeem all of humanity and give life to all.
The Great Vigil of Easter – Saturday, April 15, 2017 at 7:00pm
In the early Christian church, they would gather together on the night before major festivals and keep vigil until the morning. While we won’t stay up all night, we will gather together to celebrate this most ancient of Christian festivals. In the early church, the Easter Vigil was the most important worship service of the year.
We’ll gather down at our lakeside chapel where the new fire will be lit and our new Paschal candle will be blessed. We’ll then process into the sanctuary to retell some of our salvation stories, remembering God’s promises throughout the ages to save and redeem us. This will be the first reading of the Resurrection narrative from the Gospel of John, and we’ll shout “Alleluia!” and give thanks for our new life in the risen Christ by sharing in Holy Communion.
Easter Sunday – Sunday, April 16, 2017 at 8:00am and 10:30am
On this glorious day of resurrection, death has been defeated, the grave is empty, and life eternal is promised to all. Our rafters will ring with glorious music and we’ll gather around the table to celebrate the new life given to us through Christ’s Resurrection. We’ll also have breakfast being served in the Community Center to help our youth raise money to attend the National Youth Gathering.