This Sunday marks the beginning of an ancient church tradition called Holy Week (also called Passion Week or Silent Week). It is the week leading up to Easter Sunday and begins with Palm Sunday. It has been celebrated, remembered, and observed for almost 2,000 years and has had a particular significance for the early church. Even today, many faith traditions place an intense focus on the days leading up to Easter Sunday. Some of the words we use to describe the days of Holy Week seem strange today, and if you were to ask anyone what Maundy Thursday is, you might get the same blank stare that I do.
Here is the breakdown of Holy Week:
- Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter. It commemorates Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem (also known as the triumphal entry) on a donkey while the onlooking crowd waved palm branches and shouted, "Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessings on the coming Kingdom of our ancestor David! Praise God in the highest heaven!" Mk 11:9–10.
- Our English word "Maundy" comes from the Latin mandatum, which means "commandment." In John's gospel, on the last night before his arrest, Jesus gave His disciples a new commandment to love one another in the same way He had loved them (John 13:34). Many faith traditions will observe a foot washing ceremony to commemorate the same act Jesus performed with His disciples in the upper room.
- The Friday preceding Easter is observed in commemoration of the crucifixion (Mark 15:42; Luke 23:54; John 19:31; cf. Matt. 27:62). It is often a solemn gathering, and its focus is to point beyond the death of Jesus and to look forward in hope to the empty grave.
- Easter was originally a Saxon word (Eostre or Ostara) which developed in the Christian communities from the Jewish Passover. For centuries Christians across the world have celebrated the resurrection of Jesus at this time of the year.
Here is why I mention all of this - as our lives become busier and busier, and as our culture places an ever decreasing focus on God, Holy Week reminds us to pause, reflect, and turn our focus back towards God. Let’s not miss the grandeur of this week. This week can be a turning point in our lives and the lives of our community.
This Sunday we will explore a powerful “I am” statement that emerges in the midst of Jesus' arrest. It is an intense scene and an encouraging glimpse into the final moments in the life of Jesus. There is a lot of application to this upcoming message, and it will be a great Sunday to invite someone.
- Don’t forget the new service times - 8:00 // 9:00 // 10:15 // 11:30
- Be sure to grab a handful of Easter invite cards that we have in the silver bowls as you enter/exit the auditorium. It’s an easy way to invite someone to our Easter weekend.
- Good Friday service will be at 6:00 p.m. on March 30.