WORSHIP: HOLY WEEK


 

MAUNDY THURSDAY
Good Friday begins the Sacred Triduum, or Three Sacred Days, of our redemption. This is a celebration: a celebration of our Lord's institution of the sacrament of his Body and Blood: but it is pervaded by the shadow of the cross. Jesus gathered with his disciples in the context of the greatest of all events in Israel's redemption – the exodus and the Passover. Yet the normal joy of such an evening was muted by betrayal, the failure of his friends to understand what he was doing, and his own fear of what was to come.

It was a farewell dinner in which Jesus, by washing his disciples feet, sought to illustrate one final time the character of love and ministry which is central in the life to which he calls us: self-giving love to the point of dying for one's friends. We hear the ancient instructions for celebrating the Passover, Paul's account of the institution of the Eucharist, and John's account of the moment when Jesus washed his disciples' feet.

After Holy Communion tonight, the liturgy will not end. It continues tomorrow, Saturday, and Sunday when it comes to its conclusion.

GOOD FRIDAY
Today's liturgy is the second part of a complex series of rites which cover the Three Sacred Days of our redemption. This liturgy began last night on Maundy Thursday and will be concluded on Sunday. We will engage in intense intercessory prayer for the church and for the world. It was on the cross that Jesus made his full intercession for us, and we are united with him through Baptism in that intercession.

The final portions of this liturgy take place before a cross, where we praise Christ for his love, which he demonstrated on the cross. Then we receive Holy Communion from the Sacrament consecrated on Maundy Thursday. At the end of the liturgy, the church is left in silence and darkness, as we prepare for the final act, which begins at the Great Vigil at sunrise on Sunday. It is as though the church has died and now waits silently to be resurrected out of the baptismal font at the Great Vigil of Easter.

EASTER
This period of the year, from Easter Day through the Day of Pentecost, is the oldest part of the Church Year. It is directly derived from the fifty-day period in the Jewish calendar, which began with Passover and concluded with Pentecost (the Greek word for "fiftieth day.")The Lord's death and resurrection took place at Passover, and its completion - the empowering of the apostles by the Holy Spirit – took place on Pentecost. These are the church's original feast days, which in very early times were both moved to the Sundays following the Jewish festivals, because of the early church's intense reverence for the first day of the week as the Lord's Day, the Day of Resurrection. The early Christians considered every Sunday to be a celebration of the rising of Christ and of the coming of the Holy Spirit – a repetition of Easter and Pentecost.

Easter Banner

Easter is indeed the day we can say, "The Lord is risen again!" (Ua ala hou mai Ka Haku!)
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