Rather than start my email with some thoughts on this Sunday’s reading, I’m going to instead share some thoughts on all of the services coming up during Holy Week. Consider them “devotional introductions” and I hope you are encouraged to attend as many Holy Week services as possible this week! Briefly, on a personal note: I saw my surgeon this past week and he gave me a very good report. He says I’m right on track with my recovery. I’ll return for continued follow up in three months. First off though, is this reminder…
EASTER EGG HUNT TOMORROW
Our Easter Egg Hunt is Tomorrow, April 9, 10:00 AM. We’ll have music, the Easter Bunny, and the egg hunt! Children of all ages are welcome.
LILY ORDERS DUE
Orders for Easter Lilies should be turned in this Sunday. Order forms are available in the Narthex.
Thoughts on the Services each day of Holy Week; service times noted too. All services have Holy Communion.
Palm Sunday/Sunday of the Passion - Sunday, 9am
At the beginning of the service, we’ll remember the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem to the shouts of the crowds and the waving of palms. It sounds great, everyone welcoming King Jesus. But it’s also Passion Sunday and we’ll hear the full account of Jesus’ suffering and death from St. Matthew’s Gospel. What started out as shouts of welcome for the King turns into shouts for His death. The Passion Reading was included on Palm Sunday recently; many people don’t bother with worshiping on Good Friday. Then Easter will still make sense a week later! But more than that, Holy Week is an opportunity to hear each of the Evangelists tell their version of Jesus’ suffering and death for our salvation.
Monday in Holy Week - 7pm
Monday’s focus is Jesus’ teaching on His upcoming death. From John’s Gospel we hear: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” In other words, what is about to happen to Jesus must happen so that He can bring new life to the world. This reading also doubles back to Palm Sunday. It’s a good preparation for the rest of the week.
Tuesday in Holy Week - 7pm
The heart of this service is the Passion according to St. Mark. Mark’s account is very similar to Matthew and Luke but contains the unique detail of the young man running away naked, probably an autobiographical detail from Mark himself! One of the things that jumps out from this Gospel is the mockery of the people at the cross: “He saved others. He can’t save Himself!” They mean it as mockery but it’s true! If Jesus were to save Himself, we would be doomed. But He doesn’t save Himself and that is our salvation!
Wednesday in Holy Week - 7pm
Wednesday is Luke’s account of the Passion of Jesus. Two details stand out from his account: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” It sure seems like they do! How can Jesus say that? Because God has promised to remember our sins no more and that is what Jesus’ death accomplishes. Luke is also the Evangelist who tell us about the thief on the cross who pleaded with Jesus for mercy and was told he would be in paradise with Jesus that very day!
Maundy Thursday - 7pm
This is the night when Jesus was betrayed. It is the beginning of the Triduum, the “Three Holy days,” which includes Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Maundy comes from the Latin “mandate” which means “command,” referring to Jesus’ command to “love one another.” It’s also the day He instituted the Lord’s Supper, turning the Passover meal into the memorial meal of His body and blood for the forgiveness of sins. To prepare for receiving this gift, we have the service of Corporate Confession and Absolution. We end the service with the stripping of the altar, preparing for Good Friday and symbolizing the treatment Jesus received at the hands of His enemies.
Good Friday - The Seven Words from the Cross - Noon
The Noon service features the Gospel delivered in seven parts: each of the sayings that are recorded from when Jesus is on the cross. Each saying is followed by a short meditation and the singing of “Jesus, in Your Dying Woes,” a beautiful hymn that recounts these seven words. The service begins at Noon as we remember the time of day when our Lord was hung on the cross of Calvary.
Good Friday - Chief Service - 7pm
The Chief Service of Good Friday has many parts: the Reproaches recall the prophetic preaching of the Old Testament prophets, pleading with God’s people to return to the Lord. As the Gospel is read, the church gets darker and darker and the death of Jesus is signaled by the “strepitus,” the “loud sound.” All of this is centered on the reading of our Lord’s Passion from St. John’s Gospel. His is perhaps the most Sacramental of the Gospels with the vivid witness of the piercing of Jesus’ side and the flowing forth of water and blood. We think of the font and chalice in which the water and blood flow from Jesus’ side to each and feed us and save us.
Holy Saturday - The Awe-Inspiring Vigil of Easter - 6pm
Note the time being one hour earlier than the other services this week! The Vigil of Easter is a longer service, but still much shorter than the original Vigil which was kept throughout the night. (In ancient times the Vigil began the night before Easter and went until what we know today as the Sunrise service). The Vigil is a six part service that brings together Light, Readings, Baptism, the Word, the Litany Prayer, and the Sacrament of the Altar. It draws upon the themes and stories of the Scriptures as they all come together in this greatest triumph of Jesus: His resurrection from the dead, and that this is now our victory too!
Easter Sunday - The Resurrection of Our Lord - 7:45am and 10:30am
The church’s Easter greeting rings out: “Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!” There’s something about the joy of Easter that cannot be contained. Here is Good News, the best news that the human race could hear: Death is defeated! We couldn’t do that. But Jesus does! He promised He would rise from the dead and He does! Ever since, the Bible refers to death as nothing more than “falling asleep,” as if it’s a brief rest before eternal life. On Easter, we mock death and celebrate its defeat. Our Lord has risen and we will too!
Easter Sunday Breakfast - 9am
Don’t forget to enjoy Easter breakfast with one another! It’s been awhile since we’ve had a fellowship meal together! Thank you to the Elders for organizing and hosting it!
SCHOOL ENROLLMENT FOR 2022-23
Our school is now enrolling for next year. If you know anyone with children ages 3 years old through Second Grade, send them our way for more information on our Christ-centered academic excellence!
UPDATE ON PETER POLLACK
I spoke with Peter last week. He’s doing pretty well. He has a couple of weeks of rehab left until he is able to finally go home but he is tackling that one day at a time. He is very grateful for all of our prayers, cards, letters, and support. Thanks, Zion!
LIVE STREAM INFORMATION
You can watch live and find recorded services at the links below:
Our videos are also live and recorded on YOUTUBE HERE.
Not despite, but because of all the services in Holy Week, it is my favorite week of the church year! Each day we get to hear and meditate and ponder the story of what our Savior has done for us. Each day is a remembrance and celebration. Each day is a time out from the world around us that is falling apart to rest and abide in the comfort of a Savior who gave His life for us and took it up again. I hope and pray you’ll be able to join me each or for as many days as you can. You really will feel refreshed and strengthened for our pilgrimage through this world to the Promised Land of Paradise. See you for services this week!
Download this week's Bulletin, Daily Devotions, and NewsNotes from our website here: