HOLY WEEK AT CHRIST CHURCH - 2014

 Assist us mercifully with your help, O Lord God of our salvation, that we may enter with joy upon the contemplation of those mighty acts, whereby you have given us life and immortality; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.   

- Liturgy for Palm Sunday  (Book of Common Prayer)

 

                      13 April        Palm Sunday

7:30am         Morning Prayer

8:00am         Blessing of the Palms & Low Mass

9:00am         Blessing of the Palms & Holy Eucharist, Rite II, with hymns

11:00am       The Blessing of the Palms & Procession, Solemn High Mass

9:00pm         Compline

 

                            14 April        Monday in Holy Week

8:00am         Morning Prayer      12:15pm       Low Mass

 

                            15 April        Tuesday in Holy Week

8:00am         Morning Prayer

5:15pm         Evening Prayer       5:30pm         Low Mass

 

                            16 April       Spy Wednesday

8am              Morning Prayer

12:15pm      Holy Eucharist

6:30pm        Tenebrae (Psalms & Lamentations sung by the choir in a candlelit church)

 

                             17 April       Maundy Thursday

8am              Morning Prayer

6:30pm        Solemn High Mass with the Maundy Thursday Rites

 

                             18 April        Good Friday

8am             Morning Prayer

12 noon      The Solemn Liturgy of the Day

5pm            Evening Prayer and Stations of the Cross

 

                             19 April        Holy Saturday

8:45am       Morning Prayer          9am      Liturgy of the Word

6:30pm       THE GREAT VIGIL & THE FIRST MASS OF EASTER

 

                             20 April       Easter Sunday

7:30am        Morning Prayer

8:00am        Low Mass

9:00am        Holy Eucharist, Rite II, with hymns

11:00am      Procession and Solemn  High Mass

9:00pm       Compline, with a celebration of the Holy Eucharist

 

The heart of Christian Faith is the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We see in Jesus the  full glory of God’s own life and the full development of human dignity. Every story in the Gospels  adds to this fullness; the events we commemorate during Holy Week bring us to the heart of the  story. What we see requires a response. It is quite possible to look at Jesus and find nothing to  attract us or even reason to scoff. It is possible to find something compelling, and still to finally  turn away.  There are those who follow if only at a distance and there are, in every generation,  those who can stand by the cross and who will arrive early at the Empty Tomb.  Holy Week  exposes us to the story each year, and requires a response.     

The way the story is told has  changed and taken on the language of many cultures and is infused with the skills of artists and  enriched with an unimaginable weight of prayer over the ages. The earliest celebration was one  event. It began in the night that ended with the Dawn of Easter Day. During this night the Church  told the key stories of scripture, kept vigil and prayed as new converts were baptized into Christ’s  Death and rejoiced as they joined them in sharing the Bread and Wine by which the Risen Christ  sustains his people.  

After the period of persecutions ended, in the Church in Jerusalem, it became a custom for the  various events of Jesus’ last days to be remembered with prayers, hymns, and ceremonies in the  places where they occurred.   A Spanish Nun, Egeria, made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem about the  year 400AD.  She returned inspired by what she had seen and the customs of the Church in  Jerusalem spread through Western Europe. Rites were developed that re-enacted the events of the  week. The full range of human creativity exploded in poetry and music, painting and statuary, to  impress the story on the hearts and minds of Christians. In the 16th Century, as our particular  tradition was being forged in England, the customs were sharply curtailed and simplified. Over  the last four centuries, the Anglican Tradition has recaptured much of what had been lost, while  never losing the insight that it is in hearing and responding to the story, and not the ceremonies  themselves, that is central. The ceremonies vary from the exuberance of Palm Sunday’s procession  (and of course, children using the palm fronds for a sword fight at coffee hour) to the silence of the  watch at the Gethsemane Altar.  Some, like the basic shape of the Vigil, come from the earliest days  of the Church.

During Holy Week, particularly in one as full and varied as we try to keep here at  Christ Church, we draw upon thousands of years and countless cultures as we follow the way of  the Cross, pray with Jesus in his agony, and announce the good news of the Resurrection.     More is going on in even the simplest Eucharist than we could name or describe; certainly the  liturgies of Holy Week are deep and multifaceted. We have an obligation to use the resources that  are ours as part of the catholic tradition of Christianity. These Rites are powerful; the yearly  repetition creates deep memories and shapes our imagination. It is a demanding week, requiring  attention and effort to participate fully.  If we answer Jesus’ call to “watch with me,” God will  work through word and action to accomplish in us God’s own purposes.