Holy Week marks the most important time of the year for Christians. It is when Jesus paid the ultimate price for our salvation. Scripture teaches that the Son of God, born of the virgin Mary, laid down his life that we might receive life eternal. It is, therefore, no surprise that the week is marked with many special services to commemorate the many significant events of the week.
I have become more and more aware of the general lack of knowledge about the basic events that transpired during this week among the general population in America (or, for that matter, the events in the rest of Jesus’ life as well). Without this knowledge, one is unable to make significant spiritual connections. Therefore, this year, I will be telling the story of each day for my messages. This will be a good opportunity for you to invite friends for whom such names like “Palm Sunday,” “Maundy Thursday,” “Good Friday” and “Easter Sunday” bring no specific biblical stories to their mind. Because of this approach, the messages will be long on story and short on application. It will give you a chance to continue the discussion with friends and visitors after the service, as you unpack one or two of the important aspects of the story.
April 13, Palm Sunday (AKA Sunday of the Passion)
Bible Study: 9:00 am
Communion Worship service: 10:30 am
April 17, Maundy Thursday
Communion Worship service: 12:15 pm
Communion Worship service: 7:00 pm
Choir Practice: 8:15 pm
April 18, Good Friday
Prayer Vigil: Noon to 3:00 pm
Tenebrae Worship service: 7:00 pm
April 19, Holy Saturday
Stations of the Cross service: Noon
Great Easter Vigil (Joint service at Good Shepherd, Greenville): 8:00 pm
April 20, Easter Sunday
Breakfast: 9:00 am
Communion Service: 10:30 am
The Holy Saturday services are an exception to the “telling the story of the day” plan for Holy Week. The “Stations of the Cross” service is outside and uses our stations which are posted there. The events depicted begin with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and ends with his burial in the Garden Tomb. Times of silence are observed at each station for individual mediation and prayer. This service will be slightly altered from what we did the past two years. There will be a very short meditation given at the end, followed by the Litany. The service will be about an hour. A pamphlet with the homilies that introduced our Stations was put in the mailboxes of our members at the beginning of Lent. A few extra are available for visitors.
The “Great Easter Vigil” is a joint worship service. Congregations participating are Abiding Savior (Anderson), Immanuel (Simpsonville), Good Shepherd (Greenville) and Lamb of God. The service is held at Good Shepherd as they are the most centrally located of the congregations. They are located at 1601 North Pleasantburg Drive, 29609. This is traditionally the first Easter service and so ends with the return of the Halleluiahs. It is also the traditional time for baptisms. I do not know if we will have any baptisms as of yet. The service is filled with readings from the Old Testament that foreshadow Easter, including this coming Sunday’s Old Testament lesson. There is no sermon, but time is provided after each reading for individual prayer and meditation. The service incorporates movement from outside to inside, candles, and more.
The Good Friday Prayer Vigil is also an exception to the “telling the story of the day” theme. This is time set aside for personal prayer and meditation. Material is provided for those who desire it, to guide them in their prayers and meditation. Music is provided via the “magic” of the Clavinova. No one is expected to remain the entire time. The time frame corresponds to the hours of darkness as Jesus hung on the cross.
May the Lord be with you as you prepare for this most holy time of the year.
Pastor John Rickert