Home > Uncategorized > Holy Week at St. Luke’s…

Holy Week at St. Luke’s…

Palm Sunday

Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday

“Who is this?” (Matthew 21:10) “Have you come with swords and clubs to arrest me, like a thief?” (Matthew 26:55)  “By the living God, I demand that you tell us whether you are the Christ, God’s Son.”  (Matthew 26:63)  “Are you the King of the Jews?”  (Matthew 27:11)  “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called Christ?”  (Matthew 27:22)  “This was certainly God’s Son!”  (Matthew 27:54)

I invited those gathered for worship on the Sunday of the Passion:  Palm Sunday to take the Service Bulletin home and read over the Passion Narrative from Matthew’s Gospel as a way to give focus to Holy Week.  Yesterday was filled with so many words.  These few texts address the question posed as Jesus entered Jerusalem…Who is this?

Footwashing at St. Luke's

Maundy Thursday…why would we, as Disciples of Jesus, the crucified and risen Christ…be asked to wash each other’s feet?

In the Episcopal Church…foot washing is an innovation of the Book of Common Prayer 1979 as a consequence of the Liturgical Movement among the Ecumenical Christians…committed to reclaiming the fundamentals of Holy Week…those primary symbols that reminds us of the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ…bread, wine, oil, basin and towel, fire and water…the Three Days…Maundy Thursday…Good Friday…Easter Day!

When is the last time you had your feet washed?  When is the last time you washed someone’s feet?  I must admit…I’ve come to an insight about the value and gift of caring for your feet.  I wear sandals a good bit of the year…and a consequence of the hot and dry summer is that my feet take a beating…dried out…calloused…cracked skin…this also happens during the real dry time in winter…washing and putting lotion or salve or ointment on my feet…is so soothing and healing but I need to attend to my feet regularly so that they stay healthy.  Can you imagine wearing sandals year round…walking every day through the streets and alley ways with all manner of waste…animal and human…collecting on your feet?  In Bible times, when you were invited to someone’s house for a meal…you were greeted in the entryway with basins and water to wash your own feet or a house slave or servant would attend to washing the filth from your feet as you prepared to dine.

There has been a suggestion that Foot Washing is an empty symbol…not valued among us as it may have been in earlier.  I have been reluctant to set this practice aside because I believe it is a rich symbol…a reminder of the call to humble service laid on us by Jesus in John 13…”If I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you too must wash each other’s feet.  I have given you an example: just as I have done, you also must do.” (CEB)

Good Friday

The core of the Good Friday Liturgy, at 12:00 noon and at 7 p.m., is the Proclamation of the Word of God with its reading of the Passion according to St John and its ancient form of the Prayers of the People.  To this, other elements have been added: such as the Proclamation of the Cross and in some places, Communion from the Reserved Sacrament.  The apparent austerity of the rite derives not from the character of Good Friday, but from the fact that as a “solemn season” it faithfully preserves the original simplicity of the early rite.

The Word of God is proclaimed with a Hebrew Scripture, Gradual Psalm, a lesson from a letter to the Hebrews and the Proclamation of the Passion of St John in parts.  You may be seated during the first part of the Passion and then stand as directed.  Being faithful to the Liturgy’s original simplicity and contemplating this great mystery, silence is our most appropriate response to God’s Word.  The Solemn Biddings and Collects are the most ancient form of the Prayers of the People.  They are a trialogue, in which a deacon or lay reader bids the people to silent prayer, the people pray, and the priest concludes the silent prayer with a collect.

Jerusalem Cross

The Proclamation of the Cross dates from the fourth Century.  At this time the drape which has covered the wooden cross throughout the Season of Lent is removed so that we might focus our attention, thoughts and prayers on the victory of the Cross.

The service then continues with the Lord’s Prayer and a final prayer.  After the final prayer, all depart in silence.

Holy Saturday

Some folks gather for the Great Vigil of Easter which includes the blessing of the new fire and lighting the Easter Candle; the reading of Vigil Lessons; Holy Baptism or the renewal of Baptismal Vows concluding with the Holy Communion.

log fire

At St. Luke’s on Holy Saturday at 5 p.m., we are introducing a service called Keeping Vigil, a time of informal worship and conversation and refreshments.  Keeping Vigil is an opportunity for those who wish, to bring some food and drink to share, reflect on the Gospel texts from Lent 2 (John 3: 1-17 – Jesus and Nicodemus); Lent 3 ( John 4:5-42 – Jesus and the Samaritan Woman at the well); Lent 4 (John 9:1-41 – Jesus and the healing of the Man born blind) Lent 5 (John 11:1-45 – Jesus and the raising of Lazarus from the dead); and Good Friday (John 18:1-19:42) and consider what it means for you this year to renew the vows and promises you made at Baptism.  I encourage you to read over the texts and consider these questions.  What person or persons do you most connect with in the Gospel stories we’ve read during Lent and on Good Friday and why?  What has changed about your life and Faith Journey since last Easter?  What hope do you bring with you this Easter?  You can find Questions for our Baptismal Conversation here.

I look forward to seeing you at worship during Holy Week!


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Louie A
    April 16, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    Doug, great stuff. Sounds like the best of Roman Church in the freedom of the Episcopal for Triduum. Prayerful and peacerful wishes for a blessed Triduum.

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