EasterApril 3, 2013 | Webmaster
Thursday, April 13th, 6:00pm
April 14th, 7:00pm
April 15th, 8:30pm @*Sylvan Lake* St. Mary’s and St. Timothy’s 4308 50 Ave
April 16th 10:30 am
Holy week is the week leading up to Easter. It starts with Palm Sunday when we welcome Jesus into Jerusalem as king amid shouts of "Hosanna!". Those cries of welcome quickly turn to cries of "crucify" as many of the people reject Jesus which leads to the cross.
"Maundy" comes from the Latin Maundatum which means "commandment." It is taken from the Gospel of John where Jesus, at the last supper, gave the disciples "a new commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you" (Jn. 13.34)
The theme of love is dramatically portrayed in two ways. The first is in imitating Jesus' washing the disciples’ feet to teach them that his mission of love was founded on servanthood and they were to serve one another and the world in the same way.
The second focus is the institution of the Eucharist in which Jesus presents his body and blood in bread and wine as the ultimate sign of his love: offering his very life for us on the cross. As the familiar words say, "This is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for you, and for many, for the forgiveness of sins." On this special night of remembering we recall with gratitude this gift by which we are united with Jesus and fed by his life week by week in the receiving of this sacrament.
The church is often stripped of its decorations and the lights dimmed in preparation for the solemn observance of Christ's crucifixion the following day.
In place of a usual Maundy Thursday Service, we at St. Mark's have been practicing a Christian Seder Supper in recognition of the Last supper as a Jewish Passover meal. The Seder Supper is a meal that has much symbolism and is primarily a remembrance of God rescuing the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt and bringing them to the Primised Land. Similarly, we recognize Christ's work on the cross as recuing us from slavery to sin and bringing us to life in the kingdom.
This service can have the feel of a funeral. We contemplate the death of Christ and the cost of our sin. This is a solemn and reflective service.
The Easter Vigil is an evening service where we contemplate the moment of the resurrection. We transition from darkness to light.
This is the highest point in the Christian year. We celebrate Christ's victory over death and sin. It is a victory that he extends to us and invites us to share in.
Have you ever wondered how strange it is that we wear crosses around our necks, and put them on our walls? Have you ever considered wearing a gold electric chair around your neck? Or maybe a gold hangman's noose? Or, maybe a little silver guillotine? We have made an instrument of torture into jewelry. How did that happen? How did a symbol of death and shame become a symbol of hope and comfort? It is because of the resurrection, which we celebrate on Easter.
From the point of view of Good Friday the cross is brutal and horrible, but after the resurrection the cross becomes a symbol of Jesus' victory. In that act Jesus took on the world's evil. He even took on death... and he won. After the resurrection, the cross is transformed into a symbol of hope. It becomes a symbol we can wear around our necks to remember the victory of Christ over evil and death. The cross becomes a symbol to remind us that no matter how bad things seem, God will have the last word- and that last word will look like resurrection.
Incredibly, Jesus has invited us into his resurrection life. He has invited us to be a part of his story. Part of being wrapped up in Jesus' life and story means we can look forward to victory over death as well.
There is something amazing and mysterious about the resurrection life that Jesus invites us into. Imagine the most horribly painful thing that has ever happened to you. What in your life symbolizes pain, shame, and cruelty? ... From the point of view of our resurrection we will look back on those things as symbols of our victory as children of God. Just as Jesus and his followers can look back on the cross as a symbol of victory and hope, so those hurtful events in our lives will become symbols of victory for us. Just as Mary's tears at the tomb are transformed into joy by Jesus' resurrection, so our horrors will be transformed into symbols of our victory.
The incredible thing about this is that we don't have to wait until our resurrection to look at these moments with a sense of victory. Because of Jesus' resurrection we can approach those difficult times in our lives and have a sense of hope and victory as we are facing them.
Some of you are thinking that this all sounds good but terribly impractical, but this is precisely what allowed Christians in the past to face incredible circumstances. The resurrection is what allowed Christians to remain in a town when a plague hit in order to serve the sick, risking their lives to serve the suffering. These people were not suicidal, but they no longer feared death. It meant that they were willing to stand up for what was right and just even in the face of cruel kings and rulers. They knew that because of the resurrection they could face any cross.