The Passion of Christ
What is the Point of Holy Week?
Holy Week services include Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Great Vigil of Easter. And they challenge our expectations of what we should see and hear at church. The mood can be scary The altar looks different. The music is different. People in scripture are lying, fighting, and crying. We hear about all the doubt the disciples struggled with and are asked to acknowledge our own doubts as well. But, this is what reminds us that our savior is fully God and fully human, that he shared our struggles and that we will share in his victory. This is the point of Holy Week. It’s also the great joy of Easter.
The Joy of Easter
Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus the Christ and defines our faith as people of a Lord who suffered yet overcomes death for our sake. Jesus’ death and resurrection opens for us a new life of grace. We have a new identity that is bigger than family, politics, or careers, yet shows us how to engage with all of these things more fully.
April 14 @ 8 & 10:30 AM – 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.
April 18 @ 7 PM – 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.
April 19 @ 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.
April 20 @ 4 PM – 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.
April 21 @ 8 & 10:30 AM – 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!
The reverent, the silly, and the strange… this is where we break the barriers that keep us from fully engaging in community and worship.
At first glance, the season of Lent can be gloomy and depressing but if that’s all you
If you’re not careful, the Palm Sunday liturgy will give you emotional whiplash! But we have some context and discussion that will help with that.
These are the services that stretch us as Christians so let’s understand them better and break down some of what makes us uncomfortable… like dirty feet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I take communion at St. John’s?
Communion at St. John’s is open to all baptized Christians, no matter where you were baptized. If you would like begin one of our formation classes to become baptized, please contact our parish office to make an appointment with the Rector.
Is your church handicap accessible?
St. John’s underwent an extensive restructuring project in 2010 to make our sanctuary accessible while maintaining the historical integrity of the building. We now have lifts and ramps that will accommodate many mobility solutions. If you are unable to come to the altar but would like to receive Holy Communion, please inform an usher so that the priest can come to you.
What is worship like at St. John’s?
During a typical worship service we will read from scripture, hear the priest give a sermon, and participate in Holy Communion. The organist and choir lead the congregation in singing hymns, chanting the Psalm, and they offer special music and anthems. Members of the parish function as readers and servers in the altar party.
What do Episcopalians Believe?
We believe in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the early Christian statements of faith. We believe in the Bible as the Word of God, which contains everything necessary for salvation. We believe in God the creator who is made known to the world as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And we believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. For more detailed information please view the Our Beliefs page.