Palm Sunday, March 20 – Both 8 and 10:15 services will begin with a blessing of the palms (10:15 at the fountain in West Park) and a procession into the church. The Passion Gospel will be read as a dramatic reading, with the crowd taking the part of the crowd, followed by silent reflection. The liturgy moves from praise to passion as we remember Jesus triumphantly entering Jerusalem, with a crowd waving palm branches, then the crowd calling for his death, and Jesus carrying his cross to his crucifixion.
Tenebrae, Tuesday, 7 p.m., invites us into meditation and darkness, reading psalms and hearing the words of Lamentations, Hebrews, and writings of St. Augustine. The name of the service means “darkness” and 14 candles are extinguished as the service goes on. The last candle, representing the light of Christ is hidden and the church is in darkness. Then there is a loud noise, representing the earthquake at the time of the resurrection, and the candle is replaced; the congregation leaving in silence by its light.
The Triduum is the three days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil, the first service of Easter. There are no dismissals at the end of the services until the Easter Vigil, showing that this is one extended service celebrating the passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Maundy Thursday Eucharist, 7 p.m., focuses on Jesus washing the feet of the disciples, and sharing his last supper with them. Members of the congregation are invited have their feet washed by the clergy. (Remember to wear footwear that is easy to remove.) At the end of the service, the altar is stripped and washed, representing the stripping of Jesus by the soldiers as he was about to be crucified and his life stripped from him, and then his body washed for burial.
Good Friday, Proper Liturgy, 9 a.m. & 7 p.m., leads us into contemplation of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and prayers for the world for which he died. The church is stark, with crosses covered or draped in black. Toward the end of the end of the service a large wooded cross is carried in and the congregation is invited to venerate the cross with an opportunity to light candles to place at its foot.
Also on Good Friday: 12-3 p.m. The Three Hours. A meditative service, reflecting on Jesus’ passion and praying for the world, in 45 minute segments. 12-2 p.m. Crosswalk. Carrying the cross in our city, remembering that Christ died for all. Begins and ends at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 8th and Walnut Streets.
Easter Eve, Easter Vigil, 8 p.m. at Grace Episcopal Church, 5th and Linden Streets, begins in darkness, with the first fire of Easter, In the candle light we hear an ancient hymn of praise for the paschal light, hear the story of God’s salvation, beginning with creation, renew our baptismal covenant, and in the bright light and joy of the first Easter Eucharist, we sing “Alleluia! Christ is risen!” Parking is available on the street or by Symphony Hall at 6th & Linden.
Easter Morning, 8 and 10:15 Festive Eucharist, we continue our celebration with prayers and hymns, and brass (at 10:15). There will be a homily for children and a brief sermon for adults. After the 10:15 service, while adults share fellowship in the Commons Room, there will be an Easter Egg hunt on the front lawn, where children will try to find all the eggs before the squirrels do. A great day to invite your friends!