On Palm Sunday, we commemorate Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, when people shouted “Hosanna!” and spread coats and palm branches on the road in front of him. St. Andrew’s will celebrate the Liturgy of the Palms, read the Passion (the description of Jesus’ trial and death), and celebrate the Eucharist on Sunday, March 25, at 8 and 11:15 AM at Union Chapel, and at 9 AM at the Parish House. Daisy, the miniature donkey, will be making a repeat appearance at the Parish House service. (The reason we read the Passion, the Good Friday text, is to make sure people hear it who won’t be able to make Good Friday services.)
On Maundy Thursday (also called “Holy Thursday”), we remember several things about Jesus’ last day amongst his disciples. We hear about his actions at the beginning of supper, when he washed and dried the disciples’ feet and commanded them to love one another as he loved them. We remember this by the act of footwashing. We remember the institution of the Holy Eucharist by reading about the Last Supper, and the words of the Great Thanksgiving take on a deeper meaning when we remember that after this very meal, he was betrayed, and handed over to suffering and death. We also remember his trial and condemnation, and the fact that all seemed lost by a ritual stripping of the altar (all the hangings and decorations are removed and put away). “Maundy” comes from the Latin word for “commandment” – “Love one another as I have loved you” (in humility and with service) and “do this in remembrance of me” (remember Jesus’ sacrifice every Sunday at Communion). St. Andrew’s will have a service of Footwashing, Holy Eucharist, and Stripping of the Altar on Thursday, March 29 , at 7 PM, at the Parish House.
At this point, our Liturgy is suspended, not ended. The Maundy Thursday Liturgy begins the Paschal Triduum – a liturgy that stretches over three days. For this reason, there is no dismissal at the end of the Maundy Thursday service – and no opening salutation at either the Good Friday service or the Great Vigil of Easter.
Good Friday is the day that Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried. It is a solemn day, and many people will honor Christ’s work on the cross with fasting and solemnity. Many people will walk the Stations of the Cross (a tradition begun in the early church for those who could not afford a trip to the Holy Land). For many faithful people, attending a Good Friday service enables the celebration of Christ’s resurrection to be more relevant. The context of our Christian faith is to be an Easter people in a Good Friday world, and so faithful observance of Good Friday orients us to our experience of Christ’s love for us. St. Andrew’s will mark the observance of Good Friday on Friday, March 30, with a 6:00 AM (anticipated sunrise) at the Parish House , Stations of the Cross at 1 PM at St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church in Mt. Airy, and the Good Friday Liturgy at 7 PM at the Parish House.
The Great Vigil of Easter is the great celebration of salvation history and begins at sundown. The service starts in the waning light, and the stories of our faithful God in the lives of the ancient community are told. When the ultimate salvation story is told, that of Christ’s victory over death, the service shifts into joyful celebration: bells ring, flowers are brought to the altar, and we are lost in praise. St. Andrew’s will celebrate the Great Vigil of Easter with others in the Diocese of Maryland on Saturday, March 31, at 7 PM, at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Baltimore. (Please note: incense will be used at this service.)
Easter Sunday will be a festive celebration of Christ’s victory over death and the grave. St. Andrew’s will celebrate Easter on Sunday, April 1st, at 8 and 11:15 AM at Union Chapel, and at 9 AM at the Parish House. There will be an Easter Egg hunt on the Parish House grounds at 10:15 AM.