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Holy Week

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week.

It’s the beginning of a journey that contains the human story – the highs, the lows, the hopes, the fears. In the span of eight days, we do it all: we praise, process, break bread, wash feet, make promises, deny, betray, condemn, abandon, grieve, despair, disbelieve, and celebrate.

And it begins with Palm Sunday, which we will celebrate this Sunday in worship. We’ll wave palm branches, we’ll sing our praises, and we’ll shout “Hosanna!” as we welcome Jesus into Jerusalem.

There will be a certain celebration to the day, just as there was more than two thousand years ago when Jesus first rode into Jerusalem. Because in this moment, all the hopes and expectations for Jesus come to their climax. The crowds of people were sure that Jesus was riding into Jerusalem to take his rightful place as King. And they couldn’t help but celebrate.

On the other hand, I think Jesus knew full well what his ride into Jerusalem meant. He knew how the crowds would turn in just a few days, he knew the horrific death that would await him on Friday.

And so, even as we celebrate, Palm Sunday should make us pause and it should catch us off-guard. Because it leaves us with the question, “Jesus, are you really headed this way, straight to your death?”

By riding into Jerusalem on the back of donkey, cloaks and branches covering the street, Jesus’ answer is “Yes, yes, I am headed this way.”

Holy Week then becomes an invitation to journey with Jesus on that way. It is easy to skip from the festive shouts of Palm Sunday to the joyous celebrations of Easter Sunday. But I invite you to slow down, to pause and to remember that Jesus chose the way of the cross.

Each of our Holy Week services will be unique, but they will all help tell the story of Jesus’ final week on earth. You are welcome to come to one event or to all events.

Wednesday Noon Prayer: Primarily a time of self-guided prayer in our sanctuary, for Holy Week there will be a brief service of prayer that recounts the story of Holy Week through scripture and poetry. (Wednesday at Noon at FPC)

Maundy Thursday Worship: This service remembers that the night before his death, Jesus gathered in an upper room with his closest friends to wash their feet and share a meal. We too will gather to wash hands, celebrate Communion, and hear the story of Jesus’ arrest and trial. (Thursday at 7:00pm at FPC)

Good Friday Worship: This service remembers Jesus’ death on the cross. This contemplative, ecumenical service, will reflect on one of Jesus’ final words from the cross and hear again the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and death. (Friday at noon at FPC)

Stations of the Cross: Following Jesus’ path from the Garden of Gethsemane to his burial, this self-guided time offers a chance to be in our beautiful sanctuary and reflect on Jesus’ journey to the cross through art, brief written statements, and personal reflection. (available 6:00-8:00pm at FPC, come on your own schedule)

I hope you will make plans to join us this Holy Week as we prepare ourselves for Easter morning!

Grace and peace


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