From "Hosanna" to "Hallelujah"
There is no week more filled with meaning for Christians than Holy Week, between Palm Sunday and Easter Day. Holy Week was originally a two-day period of fasting, prior to Easter. By 300 A.D., early churches in the region of Jerusalem were holding services appropriate for each day of Holy Week. These services focused on the most important events of Christ’s life during His final days.
Palm/Passion Sunday is both triumphal and tragic. Our church has traditionally emphasized the joy of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and distributed palms to all worshipers. On April 13, at our 10:00 worship service, the congregation’s offerings for One Great Hour of Sharing will be presented, to benefit the Presbyterian Hunger Program and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.
Wednesday and Saturday of Holy Week are the “silent days.” Perhaps we would do well to think of them as quiet days of waiting and praying. The quiet days have much to teach us. They are opportunities to sit with God—a rare and refreshing activity in our busy world. Come to the church’s Sunday School Room and pick up a copy of the March-April issue of The Upper Room, which has devotional passages for each day of Holy Week.
We will be observing the end of Holy Week with a Communion service on Maundy Thursday, April 17, at seven thirty p.m. (“Maundy” comes from the Latin word, mandatum, which means “to give, to trust, to order.” On this night, Jesus told the disciples, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another” --John 13: 34a.) The choir will participate in the service with a choral anthem.
The commemoration of Good Friday is solemn and melancholy. A Tenebrae service of hymns and readings from Matthew’s account of Christ’s passion will be held in our church on April 18 at seven thirty p.m. (It is believed that the name, “Good Friday,” came from the English phrase, “God’s Friday”).
On Easter Sunday, our church will have two worship services. A traditional service will be offered at eight o’clock a.m. The choir will present an Easter cantata, “No Other Lamb,” at the 10:00 worship service. It will include a full re-enactment of the crucifixion and choral renditions of well-known Easter hymns.
Like the varied tones of great music, the final days of Jesus’ earthly life move from major to minor keys, and back again. As we reflect on Christ’s journey to the cross during Holy Week, God’s presence can be trusted along the way—as we shout our praises on Palm Sunday before we quiet our voices to enter into His passion, and then shout the triumph of His resurrection.
First Presbyterian Church of Hokendauqua
3005 S. Front Street, Whitehall, PA 18052 | 610-264-9693 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday Worship Service 10:00 a.m. | Sunday School 9:00-9:45 a.m.
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