The disciplines of Holy Week in Worship, “Music in the Silence” and Spring Cleaning as an act of discipleship
The people of Trinity will gather “in person” and via live streaming for the services of Holy Week in 2021. A month into our return to “in person” worship, we will gather in Centennial Hall and in the sanctuary so that we can share the services of Holy Week with those who gather and those who are worshipping at home. Join us as we get to the heart of our faith story in worship.
Maundy Thursday, April 1
We worship at 7 p.m. with Confession and Forgiveness, a Washing of Hands, Holy Communion, and the symbolic Stripping of the Altar. This service will be offered in Centennial Hall in 2021 to allow for live streaming of worship.
Good Friday, April 2
Worship is scheduled at 7 p.m., the Adoration of the Crucified, a service of Passion and Prayer that concludes in silence. We will center our Good Friday liturgy on the Passion According to St. John and the Bidding Prayer of the Church. This service will also be offered in Centennial Hall to allow for live streaming of worship.
Easter Sunday, the Resurrection of Our Lord, April 4
We will gather for festival liturgies at 8, 9:15 and 10:45 a.m. The 8 and 10:45 a.m. services will be traditional services offered in the sanctuary with the 9:15 a.m. Rejoice service in Centennial Hall to support live streaming of Easter Sunday worship. Be with us in a festival of praise and our glad alleluias as a counternarrative to the long year of pandemic separation!
Finally, I share a Holy Week tradition that is perhaps best known in the context of our domestic rituals at home. Monday through Wednesday of Holy Week were traditionally the days for “spring house cleaning.” Freshly washed curtains were put up, mattresses were turned, woodwork was waxed, and the silver was polished for Easter festivities. All those traditions were meant to share in and point to our spiritual new life in the celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord.
Originally there was a washing of the altar and the whole church building which followed that home tradition. With the washing of the altar on Maundy Thursday, evoking the washing of his disciples’ feet by Jesus at the Last Supper, the cleansing of the altar was followed by the whole church, the altars, walls, floors and vessels being scrubbed and cleaned for the preparation of the Easter festival. The church, in the person of the disciples, is washed and cleansed from sin. In ancient times, after the last of the daily prayer offices on Maundy Thursday, Psalm 22 was chanted after the washing, as wine mixed with water was poured on the newly cleaned altar. Afterward the stewards of that space would dry the altar with sponges and towels.
At Trinity, we have gathered over the years for the ritual of the Stripping of the Altar at the end of the Maundy Thursday liturgy, with Psalm 22 chanted as the paraments and linens, candelabra and other appointments were reverently removed from the chancel and altar. With the space stripped and bare, our worship space becomes the place of the cross, and the service ends in solemn silence.
A bit of spring cleaning, a song evoking silence and listening, the solemn liturgies of Holy Week, perhaps a walk in the woods as bare branched but budding trees lean into spring – I hope that each of you, my sisters and brothers, find disciplines that encourage your Holy Week pilgrimage to the empty tomb and to new life. Join us in worship and join us in just a bit of solemn stillness. “Be still, and know that I am God,” intoned the Psalmist. Be still before the Passion of our Lord.
Blessings good people of Trinity. May you be safe, may you be well, and may you be held in love.
It remains a privilege to serve as one of your pastors.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Bob Linstrom