Holy Week: Part 1

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Holy Week is a time of the year that many people don’t realize even exists, but for many Christians, it is a time of emotional rollercoasters. It starts off with Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Maundy Thursday is not a sad time per say. It’s a time when Jesus reemphasized the greatest command: love and serve one another. As he took a towel and bent down in front of his disciples, he washed their feet and told them to do the same. If the Creator of the world could serve his people, we truly can do the same. He also instituted the Lord’s Supper, which we still celebrate to this day! I don’t think we realize how amazing it is that we are celebrating the same meal that Jesus did as well as his apostles did as they started the first churches. Again, it’s not too sad, but then we reach the end of that service with the stripping of the alter. We see the elements and the coverings removed to see the bare alter, symbolizing the power that Jesus was stripped of. Then Good Friday comes, the saddest day of my year. We, at Immanuel in Loveland, do the Tenebrae service, or “the service of darkness.” There are different parts of the service, each part having a title, a litany, the Scripture reading with pictures on the screen from the Passion of the Christ, a song or hymn, and finally three hammer strikes to symbolize the nails going through our Savior. At the ending of the service, the sanctuary is completely dark, the Christ candle is removed, and we sit in silence for a little while. Christ is dead. A timpani roll and a slapstick help symbolize the earthquake and temple curtain ripping, called the Strepitus. At that point, the Christ candle is brought back in, bringing hope to the congregation. The story is not over.

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