Last year, I began the Holy Week post with this paragraph:
This year, Holy Week will not be what we are used to. Ours is an incarnational faith, celebrating and relying on our bodies and the world we encounter with those bodies. We will miss the comfort of one another’s presence. We will miss the physicality of our corporate worship – shared food, shared touch, shared movement, shared breath. Some of us will be grieving our inability to participate in the Eucharist, especially on Maundy Thursday and Easter morning. Some of us will be grieving our inability to sing and speak in audible chorus together. Some of us will be grieving our inability to embrace one another.
The only thing I would change now (other than the first sentence) is the verb tense: we are missing; we are grieving. We’ve been here before – in fact, we’ve been here for a year – and we are tired.
So, this year, just give yourself into Jesus’ care. Remember that we follow One who knows what it is to suffer and who wants, perhaps more than anything, to be with us. Let him come to you. Let him give the gift of his life to you. Let yourself fall into Holy Week and know that you are safe in the company of Jesus.
Below are a number of ways to enter into Holy Week, some alone or with other members of your household and some in communal on-line worship. 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 B of the lectionary cycle, we will be reading the Passion according to Mark on Palm Sunday and, as in every year, we read 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.
Finger Labyrinth – The guide invites you into the presence of God to release your burdens, receive God’s blessing, and return to God’s world.
Download the guide and a paper finger labyrinth.
Holy Week Story with Symbols (for kids)
Prepared by the Rev’d Susan Oliver Martin, Rector of Christ Church in Edmonton, this story is designed to be told bit by bit over the course of Holy Week. It requires a little advance preparation but is a beautiful option for households with children under the age of 6 or so.
Contemplative and Creative Arts
Prepared by members of the Contemplative Arts Group last year, 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 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.
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of Holy Week
Evening Prayers – 8pm
These short services of scripture and prayer will be broadcast on our Facebook and Youtube pages. Find the order of service here.
Prayers and Dinner – 6pm
Set up your worship space at your table, if possible, and have a candle to light and a simple meal such as bread, cheese, fruit, hummus, olives, and wine (or its substitute) set out. We will give thanks for our food and one another and hear the call to self-giving love before eating.
You can choose whether you wish to eat online or off. Either way, when you are done, you are invited to strip your homes in preparation for Good Friday.
How to join the service:
Pray on your own, knowing you are not alone or join the service on Zoom. The Zoom link is available through the parish email list or on request from the office. This service will not be recorded.
The bulletin and other resources for the service can be found here.
Love is Stronger than Death: Stations 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 take place on Zoom at 10 am with time for people to interact with one another. This service will not be recorded but a pre-recorded version of the service will be made available for home use.
The Zoom link is available through the parish email list or on request from the office.
Liturgy of Good Friday – 11:30am
Set up your worship space with just a cross – perhaps one you make for the occasion by tying two found sticks together.
This simplified Good Friday service includes the reading of the Passion of Christ according to St. John, the solemn intercessions, and a time of meditation on the Cross of Jesus.
How to join the service:
Download the order of service here..
Pray the service on your own, knowing you are not alone, or join others on Zoom. The link is available through the parish email or on request from the office.
We will not be recording this service although some elements will be pre-recorded and available for private prayer.
Claiming the Hope of the Resurrection
Easter is coming, friends, even if it’s going to feel a little weird.
Easter Morning Greeting
Join in a phone chain to spread the Good News of the Resurrection with the traditional Easter greeting: Alleluia! Christ is risen! Sign up here to give permission for your number to be shared with your designated Easter Greeter and to be assigned a number to call in your turn. Calls will be made between 9 and 9:45 on Easter morning. Deadline to sign up is Tuesday, March 30.
Easter Service – 10 a.m.
Our Easter service (on Zoom and streamed to Facebook) will include some of the stories of God’s saving work, presented with poetry, song, and imagination by different members of our community. We will release the Alleluias and ask God to set our hearts free to soar after them as we proclaim the Easter Gospel. We will renew our baptismal vows and be 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 :
- your Good Friday cross, now decorated with lights, flowers, or streamers
- a candle ready to light
- Alleluia streamers or banners to wave
- 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. This service will be recorded and made available on Facebook and Youtube later on Easter Sunday