As you function to envision new approaches of inviting people today to enter into Holy Week, right here are 3 teaching points to spark your imagination.
Holy Week is the busiest time of the liturgical year. Starting Palm Sunday and continuing with day-to-day solutions via the Terrific Vigil of Easter the following Saturday evening, Easter Sunday is the final of a quite complete week of solutions, every with a distinct viewpoint and feeling. Numerous churches struggle every year to assist their congregations completely keep in mind the sacred story enacted in the course of Holy Week. As you function to envision new approaches of inviting people today to enter into Holy Week, right here are 3 teaching points to spark your imagination.
Egeria & the Liturgies of Holy Week
In the fourth century, a Spanish nun named Egeria created a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Egeria located herself in Jerusalem in the week prior to Easter, exactly where she observed the Holy Week practices of the early church. Egeria kept a diary detailing lots of components of the liturgies she took portion in. The middle section of this diary was found in the late 1800s and became a principal supply of material for the Holy Week liturgies that are nonetheless utilised currently.
For instance, Egeria describes a Palm Sunday procession from the prime of the Mount of Olives into the city of Jerusalem with people today waving palms as they walked. Think about sharing with your congregation exactly where the liturgies of Holy Week originated. You could possibly even have people today study modest sections of Egeria’s diary and examine the 4th-century practices to the liturgies in the Book of Widespread Prayer. An English translation of Egeria’s diary can be located in Diary of a Pilgrimage (Ancient Christian Writers).
Maundy Thursday, Excellent Friday, & the Easter Vigil Belong Collectively
Although lots of Christians strategy the liturgies of Holy Week “buffet style,” selecting and deciding on the liturgies they like and/or match into their schedules, the liturgies of Holy Week are inextricably linked. This is especially accurate of the liturgies of Maundy Thursday, Excellent Friday, and the Terrific Vigil of Easter. Taken collectively, these 3 liturgies are named the Triduum. They are, in truth, one particular liturgy that requires spot more than 3 days.
In his book Holy Issues, Gordon Lathrop argues that every liturgy of the Triduum carries which means, but new which means is generated when these liturgies are taken as a complete, in juxtaposition. In the knowledge of foot washing subsequent to bread and wine, subsequent to new fire and scripture – additional layers of the Paschal Mystery emerge. Think about teaching about the Triduum prior to Holy Week. Invite your congregation to attend all 3 solutions, paying specific interest to the Triduum as a complete.
Excellent Friday & the Gospel of John
Lately, somebody sent me an interview of Episcopal Priest Barbara Brown Taylor connected to her current book, Holy Envy. I was shocked to hear Taylor say it really is been years because she attended a Excellent Friday service. She goes on to clarify that as her interfaith function deepened, she located it complicated to hear the text from the Excellent Friday readings from the Gospel of John, scripture which has been utilised by some Christian for millennia that “the Jews” killed Jesus.
This Holy Week, take into consideration how your congregation will keep in mind collectively that Jesus was killed since his message and actions of radical enjoy have been a threat to an empire. You could possibly take into consideration reminding your congregation of this ancient, incorrect interpretation in your Excellent Friday bulletin, such as this blurb written by Rev. Mary Luti, published on Huff Post (please give credit):
As Christians, we reside below the burden of a sad and violent history of anti-Semitism, in the sobering shadow of the Shoah (Holocaust). It is essential for us to be clear about what our sacred texts imply when they make reference to “the Jews,” in particular in the course of Holy Week, when we contemplate Jesus’ death. When the crucifixion narratives speak of “the chief priests and leaders of the people today,” they are referring to officials who collaborated closely with the Roman systems of oppression, and have been viewed with contempt by a lot of the Jewish neighborhood in their time. They must not be identified with the Jewish people today of the previous as a complete, and absolutely not with Jews in the present. It may well be useful to recall the cultural context of our Christian scriptures, emerging as they did from a modest, initially Jewish neighborhood of believers in Jesus as the Messiah. All of the Gospels originated from Jewish communities. Jesus himself was born, lived, and was crucified, a Jew. Any criticism of Jews from Gospel writers must be understood as the expression of variations of opinion amongst or about their fellow Jews. The gospels’ use of the term “the Jews” for that reason, must not be study as a criticism of the Jewish religion, and in particular not as a condemnation of an complete people today, either then, or now. It is one particular of the bitter ironies of history that our sacred texts have been utilised to justify the persecution of the covenant people today, from whom our Savior came, and who are developed, as we all are, in the valuable image of God.
Sarah Bentley Allred is an MDiv. student at Virginia Theological Seminary. Previously, Sarah served for 4 years as Director of Children’s and Youth Ministries at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Higher Point, North Carolina. She loves nearby coffee shops, board games, the beach, and exploring new areas with her husband, Richard, and their dog, Grace.
Eric Grubb is a seminarian at Virginia Theological Seminary from the Diocese of North Carolina. Immediately after graduation in May well, he will commence his ordained ministry at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Waxhaw, North Carolina.