Holy Week Reflections

Holy Week Reflections

Today is Easter Wednesday. Today is the fourth day of Easter. And today is the second day back in the office after taking a much needed day off following Holy Week.

But today is also a day I want to reflect on my first Holy Week at St. John's. There are probably not enough words for me to describe last week, so I'll settle on, “Wonderful.” It was a wonderful week.

The weather for Palm Sunday cooperated as both the 8 and 10:15 services began outside with the blessing of the palms and the procession up Antietam St. to the tower doors; and it was nice to hear “All Glory, Laud, and Honor” being sung vigorously at both services. The reading of the Passion was, as always, a powerful experience.

Maundy Thursday was the official start of the Triduum as we gathered in Trimble Hall for a simple meal, the hearing of Scripture, and participated in the foot washing ceremony. From there we moved into the church proper for the final Communion of the week and either watched or participated in the stripping of the altar – that moment when we, like the disciples before us, betray, deny, and remove Jesus from our lives.

Two Good Friday services followed with the Stations of the Cross, another Passion reading, and the reading of the Solemn Collects with space provided for Veneration of the Cross.

Holy Saturday featured the Holy Lamentations, chants reflective of coming to terms with Jesus dead and buried in a tomb.

And then early on the first day of week, while it was still dark, we gathered for the Great Vigil of Easter. The weather again cooperated and those gathered experienced the new fire, the blessing of the Paschal candle, a beautiful rendition of the Exsultet, traditional readings, a baptism, and the flood of lights and joy as we shouted, “Alleluia! Christ is Risen! – The Lord is Risen indeed! Alleluia!”

That service was followed by a wonderful breakfast in Trimble Hall and then a jam-packed 10:15 service with the full choir, joyful music and singing, the revelation of the empty tomb, and the recognition that Jesus lives and is calling us by name. The whole thing was followed by an Easter egg hunt for the children.

All of the above are my basic recollections of the Holy Week services. It was wonderful to participate in them with you all in this place. It was wonderful to see the enthusiasm and the level of participation. Holy Week tells a story – from triumphal entry to triumphal resurrection. Easter is best experienced when you experience the whole story. For those who missed any part of the experience, I hope you will plan to experience it all next year. For those who experienced all of Holy Week, I hope you found it transformative.

For my part, thank you for allowing me to share it with you.

May our Lord Jesus Christ, who defeated sin and death and rose victorious from the grave, grant you the courage and strength to passionately follow him faithfully, and the wisdom and revelation to see things in new ways.



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