Greetings to you members and friends of First Presbyterian in Victor:
I recognize that this year’s Holy Week probably looks and feels a bit different than some of us may be used to. Our Maundy Thursday dinner hosted by the Deacons is serving a dual role and purpose: first is to celebrate and come together as a community of faith given that it has been awhile since we have had a formal meal together, second is to join the Church universal in singing, praying, and learning again Jesus’ final command on Maundy Thursday to ‘love one another.’ Below is an excerpt from the Presbyterian Mission Agency on these three days we commemorate Jesus’ passion. Following it is a suggestion for scripture reading and prayer as we immerse ourselves in the Easter Story wherever we may be.
“One of the first annual events of the Christian year, after the celebration of the resurrection on every Lord’s Day, was a commemoration of Christ’s dying and rising at Easter. Over the years, one day was split into three different rituals to remember the Last Supper and New Commandment (Maundy Thursday), the Crucifixion (Good Friday) and the struggle to make meaning of the cross in light of the whole of salvation history (the Great Vigil) — all culminating in Easter at day break.
What was originally one annual service remembering the Lord’s death and resurrection became split into separate services in order to pay closer attention to the significant details of Christ’s death and resurrection. These were considered to be part of one salvific activity of God and thus celebrated as such without a benediction until the end of the service with the Easter announcement that “Christ is risen!”
The Three Days or Triduum (Maundy Thursday at sundown through sundown of Easter) are the most solemn of the church year. The whole church’s participation is encouraged in this time of great significance for all who would be formed in the Christian faith, especially catechumens. The Great Vigil of Easter was the time set aside for the annual baptism of new Christians, coinciding with the eucharistic dawning of God’s reign in the risen Lord Jesus Christ.”https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/worship/christianyear/three-days-or-triduum/
Consider reading any or all these stories:
Matthew 26:26-27:61; Mark 14:32-15:47; Luke 22:47-23:56; John 18:1-19:30
(*note: where John’s gospel says ‘Jews/Jewish Leaders’ the translation here is problematic and can be seen as antisemitic. Please be sensitive with yourself and our Jewish brothers and sisters who do not—and whom we should not—identify with Jesus’ crucifixion.)
As you read ask yourself these questions:
- Where is God?
- Where would I place myself in this story?
- What is being stirred within me (emotionally, spiritually, mentally)?
Take time to pray, to ask God about the answers you had to these questions and share with others what you found most compelling.
As we prepare to celebrate together Easter morning, take comfort that even when we don’t get it, make mistakes (and we all do), and even when we “fall asleep;” God still loves us, forgives us, and promises us new life through Jesus Christ.
In love and service,