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Holy Week and the Triduum

Bookends and in Between

And here we are at Holy week again! The week that commemorates the last eight days of Jesus’ life. Somehow, this sacred time fits well into the seasons of both the northern and southern hemispheres when new life is happening in creation—the new birth of Spring and sunlight in the north, and the new harvests ready to bring in in the south. I invite you all to make space to celebrate this week together!

Palm Sunday honors the day when Jesus humbly rode into Israel’s capital city, cheered as the new King of the Jews. On Maundy Thursday, Jesus showed the meaning of servant leadership and his life emptied out. A handful of days later, many who misinterpreted His mission called for His death by crucifixion on Friday. And on Easter morning, He resurrected to new life, the Savior of the world with power over death and the power of love to welcome us to new and eternal life.

We all know about Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, the bookend services for Holy week. I invite you to more! There will be services every day during Holy Week. With short midday services on Holy Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, we shall follow the movements of Jesus. On Monday, Jesus taught in the temple, intensifying his public teaching and then spending the evening reconnecting with his friends, Lazarus, Mary and Martha in Bethany. On Tuesday, the readings have Jesus return to the Temple to share parables around the now and not yet Kingdom of God, inviting recognition of who He is. On Wednesday, we hear of the plans to have Jesus killed. Jesus is anointed by Mary at Bethany, with an expensive jar of perfume in preparation, Jesus says, for His burial. Some churches call this day ‘Spy Wednesday’ as we also hear of Judas’ betrayal.

If you have never participated in the next three days, called the Triduum, plan to this year. Each of the services (all at 6.30pm on each of the days) are powerful in meaning and visual drama, and seen as one service with parts drawn together in one story. We shall move from a Eucharist service with foot washing on Thursday, to the stripping of the altar, to reflection on the Stations of the Cross and contemplation on the Cross, to the quietness of the new light spreading into church as we are reminded of the whole history of salvation with baptisms and then the beautiful first Eucharist of Easter! And then Easter Sunday, which we shall celebrate with a beautiful sanctuary, joyous music and a meal together as the people of God in this part of Lexington! This is one of the most important celebrations of the Christian faith and we invite you all to share it at one service this year: 11am. All are welcome – and we mean all at St Raphael’s!

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