Walking in the Way of the Cross

“Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” Book of Common Prayer, p. 272

· April 14: Palm Sunday, 10 a.m. & Natural Egg Dyeing, 11 a.m.

· April 18: Maundy Thursday, 7 p.m.

· April 19: Good Friday.

                  5 p.m. Stations of the Cross Walk up Eve’s Peak

                  6 p.m. Potluck Soup Supper

                  7 p.m. Veneration of the Cross with Taize Chant

· April 21: Easter

                  6 a.m. Easter Sunrise on Eve’s Peak

10 a.m. Easter Celebration with Brunch Picnic and Egg Hunt

Holy Week and Easter, are the pinnacles of the church year. Through the liturgies of Holy Week, we are given a yearly opportunity to walk with Jesus through his final days in a real and powerful way.
Palm Sunday

The pilgrim Egeria describes an observance of Palm Sunday in the late 4th century. Christians gathered on the other side of the Mount of Olives, in a place called Bethpage, where they read together the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.
They walked to the Mount of Olives and down the hillside into the city. Egeria tells us that these early Christians waved palm or olive tree branches, sang psalms (especially psalm 118) and shoted the antiphon: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

Our observance of Palm Sunday, nearly 2,000 years later, follows the same pattern.
Maundy Thursday

On Maundy Thursday, we remember Jesus’ final meal with his friends; this is often called the Last Supper. The word “Maundy” comes from the Latin word for commandment. In this evening service we remember that Jesus commanded us to “love one another as he has loved us.”
Good Friday

Good Friday we recall  with our prayers and readings the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior on the cross. On this day, the worship, like the church itself, is stripped down to its essentials; it is brief and solemn. We pray for people everywhere; for our own sins and redemption, for the church throughout the world, for all nations and people on the earth, for all who suffer and are afflicted, and for those who do not know God. These prayers remind us that on Good Friday, we do not merely focus on our own grief, or sense of loss at the death of Jesus but allow that grief to fuel our prayers and actions on behalf of the whole world.

For Veneration of the Cross, a wooden cross is brought into the church. People can offer devotions, kneeling before the cross, touching or kissing the cross, or laying flowers. Walking the Stations of the Cross is an ancient practice of praying in commemoration of events in Jesus’ final hours.
The Great Vigil of Easter

This is the fullest expression of Christian life and joy in our earthly pilgrimage. The service begins in darkness, a reminder that what is to come emerges from the darkness of, the cross and the grave. In the darkness, a fire is kindled. This recalls both the creation of light - the first creative act of God - and the light that is brought into the world in the new creation of Jesus Christ. We proclaim “Alleluia. Christ is risen.” “The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.” This simple statement proclaims our deepest truth as Christians: the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The joy of Easter is so great that it cannot be contained in one day. Easter Day is only the first day of the Easter Season, which begins the Great Fifty Days of Easter. The paschal candle remains lit and in front of the church throughout the season, calling to mind the light of Christ. Throughout the season of Easter, the service begins with the same proclamation of Christ’s resurrection that we heard on Easter morning: “Alleluia. Christ is risen.”