The eight days from Palm Sunday to Easter – Holy Week – are, as the name implies, the most important days of the Church calendar. To prepare for Easter, we gather as a church family to tell one another the story that makes all the difference for our lives, the story to which we entrust our lives. Here's a quick reminder of all the unique ways we worship and live out that story during Holy Week:
Palm Sunday, March 25 – We remember Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, as crowds praised him as the one sent by God, cutting branches from trees to wave in the air. At both the 8am and 10:30 services, palm branches, folded into the shape of the cross will be available to hold during worship. For 8am, we begin worship at the back of the church, bless the palms, and process. At 10:30, those who are able will gather on the small patio on Howard Street to bless the palms and then process into the sanctuary. By the time I arrive in my place at both services, the starkness of the week begins as we hear Mark's account of the crucifixion. At the 10:30 service, this passion narrative is read dramatically, divided into parts.
Contemplative Eucharist – March 26-28 - Nativity will offer Holy Eucharist at 12:05pm Monday and Tuesday and 10am on Wednesday. In lieu of a sermon, we'll share five minutes of silent prayer and contemplation before sharing communion together.
Maundy Thursday – March 29 at 5:30pm - Thursday night we reenact the story of the night before Jesus’ death. We celebrate the gift of Holy Communion that Jesus gave in that moment, and we also hear the difficult invitation to wash one another's feet as a symbol of our call to servanthood. If footwashing is a bridge too far for you, please come knowing that this act is not required of those who attend. The service ends with the altar being stripped of all adornment to symbolize Jesus' arrest.
Prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane – Thursday at 6:30pm until Friday at Noon - After the altar is stripped on Maundy Thursday, the last thing to leave the sanctuary is the Reserved Sacrament, a small amount of the Body of Christ. Members are invited to sign up and pray with the sacrament as Jesus asked his disciples to pray with him the night before he died. To sign up for a portion of this prayer vigil, contact the church office.
Good Friday Liturgy – March 30 at 12:00pm – A solemn remembrance of Jesus' death on the cross is the focus of this service. All music is led by the piano, John's passion account is read, and a rugged cross in brought in to contemplate. We pray for the needs of the world and then share communion from the reserved sacrament.
Stations of the Cross – March 30 at 1pm - As in years past, a small group of us will stay after the main service to recall Jesus' steps to Golgotha as we pray, hear bits of scripture, and move the rugged cross from the noon service around the perimeter of the church.
Easter Sunrise Service - A candlelit sunrise service welcomes Easter as the dawn breaks at 6am. The service begins in the memorial garden where we light a fire, then process into a darkened church with candles. While the sun rises, we hear important stories from the Old Testament of God’s saving activity before I finally announce, “Christ is risen!” and Easter begins. The lights will come on and we'll share communion.
Easter Morning - If you can’t quite make it to church at 6am, we’ll still be celebrating the resurrection at 8 and 10:30! Beginning at around 10:15, you’re invited to bring flowers into the church to help us flower the cross.