This is the first Holy Week in three years that gathering together in the flesh has been an option – and it is still not an option for everyone.
But whether you will be in the church for parts of this week or not, let us all remember the lessons we have learned about how to experience these sacred days at home. Let us all remember that we are united not because we can stand in the same place but because we are rooted in the same Spirit, following the same Lord.
Below are a number of ways to enter into Holy Week, some alone or with other members of your household and some on-line, and some at the church. Whatever you choose to do, I pray that you will know the presence of Jesus in the world and in your own life.
As we are in Year C of the lectionary cycle, we heard the Passion according to Luke on Palm Sunday and, as in every year, we will hear the Passion according to John on Good Friday. Both are too long to copy into this post but the links above will take you to the Oremus Bible Browser site. Or, better still, pull out your own Bible and work your way through the story in your own time this week.
You may wish to use this model to organize your reading.
Resting in the Presence of God
Prayer Walk – The guide offers two forms for a prayer walk. The first is a deeply contemplative walk, using breath prayers to focus your heart and mind as your allow your body to move through the world God made. The second is a form of intercessory prayer that calls on you to be attentive to your surroundings and love God’s world in prayer.
Walk the Labyrinth – Labyrinths are an invitation into the presence of God to release your burdens, receive God’s blessing, and return to God’s world. Hans and Linda have created a wonderful labyrinth in our parking lot – all are welcome to walk it at any time. You can also use a finger labyrinth at home.
- Learn more about the history and practice of labyrinths
- Download a prayer guide and a paper finger labyrinth.
A facilitated walk will be offered on Good Friday at 11am.
Contemplative and Creative Arts
Prepared by members of the Contemplative Arts Group for our first locked-down Holy Week, this resource provides options for Scripture based meditations and creative responses, including visual art, movement, writing, baking, and music. It makes use of materials you likely have at home and is easily adaptable for use with younger children.
Music for Holy Week
The Contemplative and Creative Arts Kit, above, includes suggested songs to sing or listen to (all findable on Youtube or similar services). In addition, our music director, Aude has created three Youtube playlists to accompany your prayer time.
- Contemporary Christian Music for Holy Week
- Traditional Hymns for Holy Week
- Classical Music Selections for Holy Week
Praying Holy Week
The Church of England offers a Holy Week podcast, Walking the Way of the Cross
The Society of St. John the Evangelist, an Episcopal monastic order, provide a resource page for each day of Holy Week with readings, prayers, reflections, and music.
Home Prayers at Dinner
Set up your worship space at your table with a candle to light and a simple meal such as bread, cheese, fruit, hummus, olives, and wine (or its substitute) set out. As you pray, know that you are praying in the company of Ascension and of all the saints. Download the prayers here.
Holy Eucharist with Foot Washing – 7:30 at the church
Come to the church for this solemn service. We will wash one another’s feet (so wear shoes and socks that are easy to remove) which is weird but wonderful. We will share in Eucharist. We will strip the church and sit in the dark to hear the story of Jesus’ betrayal. We will pray in the company of Ascension and of all the saints.
Love is Stronger than Death: Way of the Cross for All-Ages – 10am
This moving service uses simple language and the hope-filled refrain that love is stronger than death to tell the story of Jesus’ journey to the cross in a way that is suitable for young children as well as their elders. Unlike a traditional Stations service or the Liturgy of Good Friday, we end the service with the (quiet) good news of the Resurrection in order to ensure our youngest members feel safe and reassured as they wait for Sunday.
How to join the service:
This service will be offered in a hybrid format. You are welcome to come to the church or to join via Zoom. The Zoom link is available on request from Rhonda.
This service itself will not be recorded but a pre-recorded version is available here.
Labyrinth Walk – 11:00am
Come engage your body, mind and spirit in prayer and reflection on the seven last words of Christ. Steve de Paul has created a meditation in poetry and image, titled Seven Christs which will be available as laminated cards for walking use and as a video loop inside the church for finger labyrinth users.
Find more details here.
Liturgy of Good Friday – 12:00pm at the church
The Good Friday service at the church includes the reading of the Passion of Christ according to St. John, the solemn intercessions, a time of meditation on the Cross of Jesus, and the opportunity to receive Holy Communion from the reserved sacrament.
A simple pre-recorded service will be available on the website as of Friday morning.
Claiming the Hope of the Resurrection
Service of the Word- 9 a.m. on Zoom
We will hear the good news of the Easter Gospel, sing with the Easter choir, and renew our baptismal vows as we are reminded of who we are called to be in a world that is crying out for rebirth.
Prepare to join in the celebration by setting up your worship space with :
- a candle ready to light
- a big bowl of water
How to join the service:
Download the order of service (available soon).
Join Zoom with a computer or smartphone or call in to Zoom by dialing 1-647-374-4685 and entering the meeting ID 301 177 504.
Eucharist with Baptism and Children’s Talk- 9 a.m. at the church
Easter Coffee Hour ~ 10am
Gather outdoors to share coffee, tea, juice, and treats between the on-site Easter services. Zoomers welcome!
Eucharist with Choir and Sermon – 11am at the church