In this newsletter, since I already focused on the Lenten season in my February newsletter article, I want to focus my attention to the central importance of Holy Week. Holy Week holds the central core of our Christian faith and that is why we use liturgy to enact this central story of our faith. In our worship services, we use our liturgy to enter into the story of Jesus. Our services have a specific focus, setting, and symbols to powerfully include the central message of our Christian faith.
We start on Palm/Passion Sunday. We call it that because our worship has a twin focus which is first to welcome Jesus into Jerusalem along with the blessing of our palms that we will carry home. Secondly, we listen to the reading of the passion story from the Gospel of Mark.
We return to our worship space to begin what is called the Triduum (the Three Days). We are meant to see the services of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday (I am aware that Living Lord does not practice this service alone or with others at this time) as one continuous service. There is no benediction that separates them. We leave the worship space each night in silence and return in silence.
Maundy Thursday means command. We make our Lenten confession to close the season of Lent. We reflect upon Jesus’ command ‘to love one another as I have loved you’, as enacted in the washing of feet as an act of conscious loving. (Due to COVID-19 we will not wash feet.) Then we will participate in the supper Jesus inaugurates of bread and wine. Finally, we watch the altar being stripped to Psalm 22 and we leave in silence.
Good Friday or God’s Friday, we return in silence. The focus here is on Jesus’ death on the cross. There is the reading of the passion story from John’s Gospel. Traditionally, there is a set of prayers called the Bidding Prayers as we pray for everyone in the world. After the closing hymn, again we leave in silence.
We return on Easter Sunday to celebrate that God has raised Jesus from the dead as God says Yes! to all.
First Communion Classes…It is our practice at Living Lord to prepare our fifth graders and others who have not been prepared to receive Holy Communion for the first time with their families on Maundy Thursday. We usually set aside some time for preparation so that our young people may trust that Christ is present in, with, and under bread and wine as he has promised. We will offer two sessions of preparation for our young people and their parents on Sunday mornings during the Sunday School hour starting at 9:00 am on Sunday, March 21, and Sunday, March 28.
Lenten Services…Our Lenten services will be continuing in March on Wednesdays at 6:30 pm. Because of the continued COVID-19 virus, we will not be offering a Soup Supper preceding our worship experience. The theme for this year’s Lenten series is: we are created for communion with God, to love one another, and to live in harmony with creation. Though many of our common Lenten practices rightly invite us to individual acts of repentance, prayer, fasting, sacrificial giving, and works of love, Lent is a time for deepening of our sense of community. This year we will use readings from the Gospel of Mark to reflect on what it means to be in community with one another, with the world, and with God.
Wednesday, March 3: In community with all the saints. Mark 9:2-8: Jesus in conversation with those who have gone before him.
Wednesday, March 10: In community with our neighbor. Mark 2:1-12: A community comes together to bring a neighbor to Jesus.
Wednesday, March 17: In community with those on the margins. Mark 5:1-20: Jesus crosses barriers to attend to those on the margins.
Wednesday, March 24: In community with Christ. Mark 10:32-45: Jesus reminds us that we are walking the way of the cross.
We will use a simple form of evening prayer to help us in our Lenten reflections.
Holy Week Handouts…On or around Palm/Passion Sunday, we are making a handout prepared by Holden Village that explains the focus of Holy Week and its relationship to Easter Sunday that gives rise to the shape and focus of our Holy Week worship. This handout is meant to give us an overview of the central drama of our faith based upon Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, the making of the Lenten Confession, the washing of feet, the celebration of the supper, Jesus’ death on the cross, and his being raised by the power of God on Easter Sunday. Because of COVID-19, some of our practices this Holy Week will have to be modified.
Pastor Larry’s Bible Blog…Pastor Larry offers you an opportunity to read your way thru scriptures with him each day at his Bible Blog. The readings alternate between readings from an Older Testament book and then a Newer Testament book. We will start reading the book of First Peter in the beginning of March from the Newer Testament. Then we will begin reading the Older Testament book of Ecclesiastes on Pastor Larry’s Bible blog online at http://klinkerld-pastorlarrysbible.blogspot.com/. Join us online.
Interim Pastor Larry Klinker’s Office Hours…Pastor Larry will be in the office on Wednesdays from 9:30 am to noon. You may reach him at 330-550-0077 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.