With a snap of our fingers, the Christian Lenten journey is coming to an end as Holy Week is quickly approaching. This time of solemnity that is remembered between Palm Sunday (April 10th) and Easter morning (April 17th) is meant to be a time where we journey with Christ through the final moments of his earthly ministry.
Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday and the celebration of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Both disciples and onlookers alike celebrated his final return to the holy city. Waving palm branches and laying their cloak on the ground, the crowds gathered there that day and showed their respect and praise for Christ. On Palm Sunday, Christians imitate this ancient tradition as we too wave palm branches and sing “All Glory, Laud, and Honor” in celebration of the fateful journey Christ made for us into the walls of the city one final time.
The week continues with Holy Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. This year on these days, we keep in mind the lessons offered as Jesus curses the fig tree, cleanses the Temple, and confronts the authorities. Maundy Thursday marks the beginning of what we in the church call the Paschal Triduum or the Three Days. On this day of worship, we gather and hear the story of Jesus’ final night with his disciples before he is arrested. We are reminded of the selfless example of love and service Jesus shares with his disciples as he kneels before them washing their feet and shares one final meal together. It is custom that we, too, wash one another’s feet on this night, but with COVID, there will be other ways that we remember and celebrate this practice. The evening concludes with the stripping of the altar, lectern, and pulpit as a symbol of Christ’s impending suffering and death.
On Good Friday, we gather in silence. We come together to partake in the Tenebrae Service or Service of Darkness. On this night, we hear the account of Jesus’ final hours – his trial before Pilate, his mockery and abuse at the hands of the guards, his journey to Golgotha, and his last painful moments on the cross. We are left, like the first disciples, with immense heartache. Wanting to know what’s next, where do we go from here. We depart that night in the same way we arrived – in silence. We are left reflecting on the ultimate sacrifice Christ gave for us.
We prepare to conclude our Holy Week observances with the observance of Holy Saturday. On this final day before Easter, we wait in hopeful anticipation. The celebration of this day is practiced in many ways across the church, but at Redeemer, we will gather early Saturday morning and while carrying the cross through our town, we practice the Stations of the Cross and remember the journey Christ took for us.
Holy Week concludes with the joyous, magnificent, and marvelous celebration of Easter! We sing and say with our voices raised – Christ is Risen, He has Risen Indeed! We gather and celebrate that Christ overcame death and the grave and offered for all the promise of life eternal! Most local Christian churches have websites and/or Facebook pages where one can find announcements about plans for Easter worship. Please check announcements, bulletins, and website for more details on each.
This blog post is the expressed opinion of its writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Tysons Interfaith or its members.