Come and See- Welcome to Holy Week 2014
The season of Lent has concluded and we are now into what many Christian churches call “Holy Week.” This week on the Christian calendar includes many ways to remember the life and death of Jesus Christ, especially his final days in Jerusalem. It conludes with Easter Sunday, when we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ through Scripture, sacrament (communion) and song. There are many ways to mark this week at GPMC and we hope you plan to join us for one or all. Below are some of our special services, with a description that should help you decide what is right for you and your family.
Maundy Thursday - The word “Maundy” derives from the Latin word for commandment, “mandatum.” According to Scripture, at his last meal Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment, hence Maundy Thursday. At GPMC our Maundy Thursday services include communion, since this was Jesus’ last act with his disciples, and a liturgy that is almost exclusively from the various gospel stories of that final night. The service is about one hour in length and appropriate for children of elementary age.
Good Friday – At GPMC, we have a special offering for children and families that tells the story of Jesus’ final days from Maundy Thursday through his death on the cross. It is from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m., includes lunch and is appropriate for elementary age children. Our other midday offering is a simple service of worship at 12:15 p.m. It includes a sermon, congregational song, and the retelling of Jesus’ death. This service is suitable for adults and older elementary age children, although there is nothing scary or inappropriate for younger children. Our final service is at 7:30 p.m. and it includes a traditional Tenebrae Service, also called a service of shadows. In our darkened sanctuary our choir will present a special music offering of the Lamentations of Jeremiah by Thomas Tallis and then we will hear the story of Jesus’ death. The service ends in complete darkness and includes a “tumult” on the timpani and the tolling of a bell to signify Jesus’ death. This service is best for adults down to older elementary age children.
Easter Sunday- This is the day when Christian churches celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. According to the Bible, the women who went to find Jesus on the “first day of the week” went at dawn. So in many churches people gather in the church graveyard before dawn and then have a sunrise service. At GPMC, we start our Easter Sunday 5k walk/run in our Columbarium at 6 a.m., before dawn, in order to celebrate the resurrection of the body. It is followed by a 6:45 a.m. sunrise service (with communion) outside on Trinity Terrace, where we often get to see the sun rise during worship. This run and service is appropriate for all ages and we invite people to dress as needed: sometimes it is cold, other times there is mist, etc. The sunrise service is followed by a continental breakfast that includes homemade cinnamon rolls, an annual offering by the Henry family. There is a freewill offering for this meal.
Our 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. services are in the sanctuary, with extra music and hymns, as well as special brass instruments. People who particularly enjoy the music of the day are encouraged to come 15 minutes early to hear some of the music our choir has prepared. These services also include communion.
Our 5:00 p.m. service is low-key way to the end the day. While it includes some of our Easter favorites in terms of music and readings, it does not have the crowds and the rush of the morning. It was a wonderful way to end the day last year. We worship in Barbour Chapel and, if the weather permits, we will finish the service outside in the Columbarium as a reminder that Christ’s triumph is over the tomb. The crocuses we planted last All Saints’ Sunday will be in bloom, helping us to remember Christ’s victory for our loved ones.
On Easter Sunday we will once again create a “flowering cross” to put out front as a sign of new life to those who pass by. Bring cut flowers (from the store or your garden) to Easter worship and as you enter or leave, pass through the Reception Area to put your flowers in the cross that will be there.