Holy Week & the Three Days

The Three Days

The Three Days: this is the highlight of the church year. The most ancient of our worship practices, the Triduum (meaning “three days”) is three separate gatherings on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday that make up one service. Each time we meet there is a distinctly different feel and focus.  On Thursday and Friday there is no benediction or sending hymn. Rather, we leave silently to return the next night and continue until Saturday night when we proclaim that “Christ is Risen!” and again experience the joy of singing and exclaiming “Alleluia!” Our Lenten journey will have ended – reconciliation, remembrance, reverence, restoration, renewal and rejoicing – all are part of The Three Days. Come and share this experience with us at 7 p.m. each night.

Maundy Thursday

This is the night…

  • In which we confess our sin, and receive absolution as our foreheads are anointed with oil – a physical sign to assure us of God’s forgiveness and love for us.
  • In which we hear Jesus’ command to love one another – the “new commandment” or “mandatum.”
  • In which we wash one another’s feet as Jesus did for the disciples as a sign of our calling to follow Jesus’ humility and service to each other.
  • In which we gather around the table to share Jesus’ command to “take and eat” and “take and drink” Christ’s body and blood in the bread and wine as we “do this in remembrance of me.”
  • In which we witness the worship space stripped of all adornment, reminding us of Jesus’ abandonment as he is left to die.

Good Friday

This is the night…

  • In which we hear John’s narrative of the passion and victory of Jesus and the cross.
  • In which we pray for the whole world for which Christ died.
  • In which we sing of the triumph of the cross: forgiveness, healing, and salvation.
  • In which we are invited to reverence and bow before this mystery of faith – the cross on which Christ died so that we may live.

Easter Vigil

This is the night…

  • In which Christians around the world gather before a new fire to celebrate Christ’s passage from death to life.
  • In which we enter an area that steadily becomes steadily illuminated by the light of Christ and we wait (keep vigil) with our candles lit for Christ’s coming both now and at the end of time.
  • In which we experience darkness and light, silence and sound, death and life.
  • In which we again hear the stories of our salvation history that culminate in Christ’s triumph over death.
  • In which we renew our own baptism as God’s beloved child who now shares in eternal life and Christ’s power over death.
  • In which we hear the good news of Jesus’ resurrection.
  • In which we share the first meal of the risen Christ – the old has been cast away and the new is here.
  • In which we are sent into the world to share this wonderful news of what God has done for us through Jesus Christ in lives of service, justice and love to all we encounter.

by Bev Jedynak, Cantor to the St. Luke’s community

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