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Holy Week and Easter

    Palm Sunday—March 25

    Worship Service | 8:30, 9:45, & 11:00 a.m. | Sanctuary
    On Palm Sunday, the Children’s Music Ministry and Sunday school will lead us in the procession of the palms. The Sanctuary Choir will present Mark Hayes “Requiem” in all three worship services. Accompanied by a full orchestra, the requiem is a mass setting for the departed. It is one of the most beautiful and expressive settings and is of very ancient origin. The title is taken from the first line of the piece translated as “rest eternal.”

    Palm Sunday is the Sunday immediately preceding Easter. Palm Sunday commemorates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem which was celebrated by a large gathering waving palm branches. This day begins the series of observances focusing on the events of Holy Week. This Sunday is also often referred to as Passion Sunday, marking the beginning of the passion or suffering of Jesus leading up to and including the crucifixion.

    Maundy Thursday—March 29

    Worship Service | 6:30 p.m. | Sanctuary
    On Maundy Thursday, we will commemorate the last supper of Jesus with his disciples by observing a service of Holy Communion followed by a service of Tenebrae, which will include the stripping of the altar and the extinguishing of light. We invite children to take communion with their families before exiting the sanctuary and going to the chapel for an age-appropriate experience of Jesus’ last week on earth. Childcare will be available for children age 4 and under.

    Maundy Thursday is the Christian holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter. It commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles and the washing of the Apostles’ feet by Jesus. It was at this meal that Jesus predicted his own betrayal by Judas and his death.
    This year, our Maundy Thursday service will include a service of Tenebrae. The word “tenebrae” comes from the Latin meaning “darkness.” The Tenebrae is an ancient Christian service that makes use of gradually diminishing light through the extinguishing of candles to symbolize the events of Holy Week from the triumphant Palm Sunday entry through Jesus’ burial. This increasing darkness symbolizes the approaching darkness of Jesus’ death and of hopelessness in the world without God. The service concludes in darkness, sometimes with a final candle, the Christ candle, carried out of the sanctuary, symbolizing the death of Jesus.

    Good Friday—March 30

    Worship Service | 12:00 p.m. | Sanctuary
    On Good Friday, we will take time to remember and reflect on the crucifixion of Jesus in a service that features the reading of the passion narrative and a musical interpretation of the Passion. Music will be provided by the Collegium Musicum ensemble from the University of Georgia. Childcare will be available for children age 4 and under.

    Good Friday is the Friday before Easter on which the crucifixion of Jesus is remembered. Good Friday services often focus upon prayer and reflection on the death of Christ and penance and special devotion for the believer. The morning following Christ’s arrest in the garden, he was condemned to death via crucifixion by Pontius Pilate. Jesus was convicted of proclaiming himself to be the King of the Jews. Before his execution, Jesus was flogged, which was a customary practice intended to weaken a victim before crucifixion. Crucifixion was an especially painful method of execution and was perfected by the Romans as such. It was reserved for the worst criminals. During his flogging, the soldiers tormented Jesus and placed a crown of thorns upon his head. Following his flogging, Jesus was compelled to carry his cross to the place of His execution, at Calvary. After arrival at Calvary, Jesus was nailed to the cross and crucified between two thieves. During Christ’s last few hours on the cross, darkness fell over the whole land. Jesus was given a sponge with sour wine mixed with gall, a weak, bitter painkiller often given to crucified victims. Jesus spoke His last words, and gave up his spirit.

    Easter Sunday—April 1

    Sunrise Service | 6:30 a.m. | Evergreen Memorial Park
    Worship Service | 8:30, 9:45, 11:00 a.m. | Sanctuary
    Youth from our Student Ministry and Wesleyan Youth Choir will lead worship at a sunrise service at Evergreen Memorial Park. On Easter morning in the sanctuary, we will celebrate our Risen Lord with special music from the Sanctuary Choir and a brass ensemble.

    Easter is the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead on the third day of his burial after his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary. It is the culmination of the Passion of Jesus. His resurrection marks the triumph of good over evil, sin, and death. It is the singular event which proves that those who trust in God and accept Christ will be raised from the dead. Since Easter represents the fulfillment of God’s promises to mankind, it is the most important holiday on the Christian calendar.