Midweek Message: "What to Expect as We Embark on the Coming Holy Days"

Week of the Fifth Sunday in Lent

Dear Friends in Christ:

We are soon to embark on the holiest of days in the calendar of our Christian life. What follows is narrative description of what you can expect in the coming week.

Midweek Lenten Series Concludes:

Our Midweek Lenten Program via Zoom concludes this coming Wednesday, April 6 at 7:00 pm with a brief service of the word featuring readings from the daily lectionary which complement our Sunday readings. Following worship, Mimi Van Poole will offer reflections and engage in conversation with you on how global experiences have expanded her views of both Christianity and the church. We’ve been hearing about some enriching experiences from those who have offered reflections, and in subsequent conversation, participants have also shared some of their own international experiences of Christianity and the church. Please join us this Wednesday as a concluding feature of your Lenten discipline.

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The bulletin for Midweek Lenten Worship is below:

pdfRELC Lenten Midweek Worship for April 6, 2022

Many thanks to each of our members who has offered a reflection during these Wednesdays in Lent, namely, Wally Jensen, Norm Olsen, Gordon Lathrop, and Mimi Van Poole.

Sunday of the Passion/Palm Sunday (April 10): Worship at 10:00 am, Procession with Palms and Reading of the Passion According to St. Luke.

We will gather outdoors on the Potomac Street side of the church where we will hear the proclamation of the gospel from Luke that recounts Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Prayer will be offered over the palm fronds that will have been distributed to you. The whole assembly will enter the church through the doors and through the hallways into the narthex and then into the nave while singing the beloved hymn, “All Glory, Laud, and Honor.” Then, in the context of our usual liturgy of Holy Communion, three readers will proclaim the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke. Then we continue with our liturgy of Holy Communion in our usual ways.

The Three Days Commence, Maundy Thursday (April 14): Worship at 7:00 pm, Confession and Forgiveness, Washing of Feet, and Holy Communion with Stripping of the Altar.

The Three Days – comprised of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Vigil of Easter – is essentially one extended liturgy that proclaims and re-enacts the drama of Jesus’ last days of public, earthly ministry culminating in his death and resurrection.

Worship on Maundy Thursday begins with confession and forgiveness, and also features footwashing. In obedience to Jesus’ new commandment to love one another, those wishing symbolically and literally to enact such servant love will wash each other’s feet. We continue with Holy Communion, the institution of which is remembered on this night. Worship concludes as the lights in the nave and chancel are dimmed and the altar and chancel are stripped of their adornments as Psalm 88, a psalm of lament, is sung as we recall Jesus’ agonized prayer in the garden. We will then depart in silence.

Good Friday (April 15): Worship at 7:00 pm, with sung Passion According to John and Adoration of the Cross.

We assemble again on Friday evening, continuing the Three Days, where the focal point of our time together in worship is the Passion According to John, which will be sung by our choir. After the sermon and Hymn of the Day, worship continues with bidding prayers in the context of which your silent prayers are invited for the church and world. Then a rough-hewn cross is carried in procession into the nave as we sing of our adoration of Christ who was crucified on that lifegiving tree. Solemn Reproaches are said and the Trisagion (“Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and immortal, have mercy on us”) is sung while members of the assembly come forward for various expressions of devotion at the cross, including placing lit votive candles around it. When worship concludes in a darkened church, and all depart in silence.

The Three Days Conclude, Resurrection of Our Lord, Vigil of Easter (April 16): Worship at 7:00 pm, new fire, procession with Paschal Candle, Easter Proclamation, service of readings, affirmation of baptism, and Holy Communion.

We assemble once again on the third of the Three Days outdoors on the Potomac Street side of the church to begin the Vigil of Easter. The new fire is lit, from which the Paschal Candle, is also lit and blessed. The whole assembly follows the Paschal Candle into the church, through the hallways and into the nave where worshipers will receive their own individual candles with light taken from the Paschal Candle. We will gather at chairs surrounding the baptismal font as the Easter Proclamation is sung. A series of readings, recounting major stories of salvation history, is read followed by prayer. Still at the font, we’ll affirm our baptism, confessing anew our faith as we are sprinkled with water from the font. Then the lights will come on, and we’ll sing “This is the Feast of Victory for our God” as we take seats in the pews in the nave for Holy Communion, concluding the Three Days, having run the gamut from sorrow to joy, from darkness to light, from death to new life in Christ.

Resurrection of Our Lord, Easter Sunday (April 17): Worship at 10:00 am. Easter Breakfast begins at 8:30.

We’ll assemble yet again on Easter Sunday, Resurrection of Our Lord. An Easter Breakfast of egg casseroles and breakfast breads begins in the parish hall and outdoors at 8:30 am. At 10:00, we’ll assemble in the nave for a festive celebration of the Resurrection of Our Lord in the manner of our usual Sunday Assembly, but with the volume of celebration turned up a bit in honor of the resurrected Christ who is our light, our life, our salvation.

Please join us for the fullness of this sacred, life-giving drama!

Pondering even now on Jesus’ holy passion,

Pastor Jonathan Linman