Ash Wednesday | February 14 @ Noon & 7:00pm
Today the liturgy is intended to be a challenge to Christian people. It confronts us with the radical change in living which is the way of Christ. We are faced with sin and salvation as alternative directions for our lives—sin as separation from God, from others, from ourselves, and from the natural world; salvation as reconciliation with God, others, the natural world, and ourselves.
The liturgy on Ash Wednesday is reduced to its primary elements of Word and Sacrament. We are called to consider our mortality and, in that context, our sin and our absolute dependence on God for salvation and for life.
We may be tempted to limit our concern to our sins and our mortality, letting the ashes be the most important thing in our worship today. But the liturgy uses the ashes simply as the starting point for that which is far deeper and ultimately more important: salvation. The ashes, the penitence, the fasting—all these are but the means to the goal of Ash Wednesday, of Lent, and of all Christian living: namely, repentance, new life, and ministry to others.
Repentance, says the prophet Joel, opens us to the discovery of God’s love and mercy. Make your prayer, fasting, and ministry the marks of an inner and fundamental way of living, day in and day out, the Lord says.
On this day, the phrase, “Remember, you are dust and to dust, you shall return,” is turned around into, “you shall have life, and you shall have it abundantly.”
From The Rite Light: Reflections on the Sunday Readings and Seasons of the Church Year. Copyright © 1998 by Michael W. Merriman. Church Publishing Incorporated, New York.
Holy Week Services
Holy Week is the last week of Lent where, through special worship services, we walk with Jesus through His entrance into Jerusalem, the last supper, death, and resurrection. Yes, the walk is difficult. Surely it is more of an emotional challenge than Christmas. But staying the course and acknowledging the struggles of our Savior it makes His victory (and then ours) over death even more of a celebration on Easter Day. If you’ve never been to one of these “extra” Holy Week services consider it this year. Fill in the gaps between Palm Sunday and Easter Day with the whole Easter story.
Palm Sunday | March 25 @ 8:00am & 10:30am
Palm Sunday commemorates the entrance of the Messiah into Jerusalem. The service begins in the Community Room with the Blessing of the Palms and the reading of the Gospel’s account of how Jesus humbly rode on a donkey and His people honored him by laying the palms under His feet. Then the congregation processes together into the church for mass to begin. The mass itself includes the Passion story of Jesus’ capture, suffering, and death.
Maundy Thursday | March 29 @ 7:00pm
Maundy Thursday begins the detailed story of Holy Week where we walk with Jesus on “the night he was betrayed.” In this special service, we share the gift of Holy Communion and remember Jesus humbly washing the feet of his disciples. These deeply moving actions give us a real experience of how powerful servant ministry can be. The service concludes with the stripping of the altar and all the decorative furnishings of the church as a symbolic representation of that final night.
Good Friday | March 30 @ Noon
On Good Friday, the church mourns for Christ’s death and marvels at His life for His obedience until death. The altar remains completely bare and it’s customary to empty the holy water from the font in preparation of the blessing of the water at the Easter Vigil. It is a solemn reminder of exactly why Easter is such a joyful occasion.
The Great Vigil of Easter | March 31 @ 4:00pm
The Great Vigil of Easter is the link between the grief of Good Friday and the joy of Easter Day. The service begins in darkness at sundown and slowly moves into the light of the resurrection. Through this powerful liturgy, we recover the ancient practice of keeping the Easter feast. The Vigil is where all our Lenten preparation leads us. The congregation gathers in darkness, with the new fire, which represents the light of salvation, lights the Paschal candle. The Paschal candle is used throughout the Easter season and at baptisms and funerals through the year. We then process into the church to be among the first to sing our “Alleluias” with organ and brass sounding salvation during this glorious feast and to welcome our newly baptized! New this year, this service will use incense! If you find heavy fragrances a distraction to your worship, consider attending the Easter Day services which will not use incense.
Easter Day | April 1 @ 8:00am & 10:30am
Easter Day, which immediately follows Holy Week, is the great feast day where the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is celebrated! Come and sing “Christ, Our Lord is Risen Today” with organ and brass, renew your baptismal vows and celebrate our salvation with Christ!