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Holy Week

at Christ Church

the journey that helps give easter

a deeper meaning

This year, Palm Sunday is on March 24th, and is followed by Holy Week, the most sacred period of our Christian faith. This is when the foundational story of Christianity – Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection – is remembered and retold, both in words and in ritual actions, at services throughout the week. We gather together as a community of faith to journey with Jesus to Jerusalem, to stand with him before his accusers, to walk to Golgotha, and to stand at the foot of his cross. Finally, on Easter Sunday, we will joyously celebrate the resurrection of Christ, lifting our voices in praise of the hope that is ours and the world’s.

From earliest times, Christians have observed the week before Easter as a time of special devotion. The heart of Holy Week observance is the three holy days, or Triduum, of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, and Christ Church has services on each of these days.

Join us for all of it, if you can, remembering that without the journey of Holy Week, Easter loses its deep meaning.
 

Palm Sunday

Sunday, March 24

Holy Eucharist at 8:00, 9:00, & 10:30 a.m.

Liturgy of Palms begins at Old Brick (weather permitting)

The holiest of weeks begins with Palm Sunday, also called Passion Sunday. Here the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem is recalled, and yet, the liturgy quickly shifts to the events of the week that lead Jesus to his arrest, trial, and death on the cross. The congregation gathers in Old Brick, processes to New Brick with blessed palm leaves, and joins in the reading of the Gospel narrative in parts. The liturgy ends in quietness; a stark contrast to the joy of the procession. And with this, our Holy Week journey begins.

Meditations on the Passion

Sunday, March 24

at 6:00 p.m. in New Brick

This Palm Sunday evening, Christ Church will present Meditations on the Passion, a special service of poems, readings, dance (courtesy of our Lumen Christi liturgical dance ministry), song, and prayer.  Join us at 6:00 p.m. in the New Brick Sanctuary as we contemplate the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ in a way that makes us realize the immense love He has for each one of us, a love that is capable of suffering and death in order to free us from our sins.

Tenebrae

Wednesday, March 27

7:00 p.m. in New Brick

As Jesus draws ever closer to the events of Good Friday, the church readies itself by reading the service of Tenebrae, taken from the monastic tradition.  In this Wednesday evening service, a candelabrum with fifteen candles is used, and one by one the candles are extinguished, until the only light remaining symbolizes the light of Christ.  This light is taken and hidden for a moment, as Christ was laid in the tomb.  Then, as a loud noise resembling that of the earthquake is heard, the light is returned to its stand.  In silence, and by the light of only that single candle, the congregation exits.

Maundy Thursday

Thursday, March 28

5:00 p.m. Seder meal in New Brick

7:00 p.m. Eucharist in New Brick, with foot-washing and stripping of Altar

9:00 p.m. Vigil in Old Brick

On this evening of Maundy Thursday, we gather together to bring into remembrance the Last Supper of our Lord and the Institution of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.  We hear and remember the words of Jesus as he states, “Do this in remembrance of me.”  As the service concludes, the altar is stripped of all of its appointments, so that the focus of all can be upon the cross alone on the following day, Good Friday.  We then hear of the Agony in the Garden, as Jesus is arrested.  The Watch then takes place through the night, as in response to our Lord’s question: “Could you not watch with me for one hour?”

Good Friday

Friday, March 29

12:00 noon and 7:00 p.m. in New Brick

Christians throughout the world recall Good Friday as the day upon which Jesus died.  As it remembers the great sinfulness of man, it also points to the glory and love of God.  It is most somber in its offering and includes the Veneration of the Cross, another ancient custom of the Church.  A plain wooden cross is carried into the church and is held before us.  The congregation is then invited to come forward in reverence of the cross - by touching the wood, a simple bow, a genuflection, or the act of kissing the wood of the cross.

The noonday service lasts one hour and draws our attention to the extraordinary love that God has for each of us in giving His son to die on the cross.  The evening service is slightly longer, as we also receive communion from the Sacrament Reserved.  Church tradition prohibits the celebration of the Eucharist on this day.

Holy Saturday

Easter Vigil and Eucharist,

Lighting of the New Fire,

Confirmation, Reception, and Baptism

Saturday, March 30

7:00 p.m. in New Brick

As the church awaits the glory of the resurrection, Holy Saturday is a day of preparation.  As the sun sets, bringing with it the end of the Lenten season, one of the most beautiful services of the entire church year is held.  We begin in utter darkness, signifying Christ in the tomb, and then a new fire is lit & blessed, and with it the Paschal Candle symbolizing Christ.  As the Paschal Candle is carried into the church, the light is passed to parishioners, who each hold a candle. As the church is illumined by just candlelight, the ancient hymn The Exsultet is sung.  Then, within that light, lessons are read which remind us of God’s desire for man’s salvation.  The Sacrament of Holy Baptism takes central focus on the priesthood of all believers and then we celebrate the first Eucharist of Easter.  The darkness is now full light!

 

March 30th is also the Day of Confirmation. In Confirmation, a baptized Christian makes "a mature commitment to Christ, and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop." (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 857)  This year, Christ Church will welcome the Right Reverend Carrie Schofield-Broadbent to our parish for the first time. 

Easter Sunday

Sunday, March 31

8:00 a.m., in Old Brick

9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. with music and choir in New Brick

We have now reached Easter Day – a day of joy, celebration, and the gift of life to God’s people.

There are three services this morning, and you are welcome to be with us at 8:00, 9:00, and 11:00 a.m.

At the 9:00 and 11:00 services, a full choir and procession with all of the rituals appointed for the day help us celebrate and express our joy. The Easter sermon is given; the choir anthems are spectacular, and the glory of the day radiates from our worship into the community.

Celebrations on this day include the annual Easter Egg Hunt, as well as the Flowering of the Cross. These are beloved celebrations for the youngest among us, and the rest of us ensure a safe and fun time for all. Please be sure to bring your basket or bag for the egg hunt!  Flowers will be provided.

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