For much of its history, the Church has commemorated the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ with a series of dramatic worship services during the final days of Holy Week. These services take place during the three day stretch of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Known as the Triduum (or “Great Three Days”), these are the holiest days of the Church year and are an opportunity to reflect on and experience the drama of Christ’s Passion and Resurrection.
On Thursday, April 14, Heavenly Rest will celebrate Maundy Thursday, the day when we recall Christ’s institution of the Lord’s Supper and the new commandment of love he gave to his disciples. At 6:00, there will be an Agape Supper in Gerhart Hall and the Courtyard. Derived from the Greek word for “love”, our Agape Feast will include the ceremony of footwashing, a symbol of the servanthood to which all disciples of Jesus are called. At 7:30, we will celebrate the Holy Eucharist in the Nave. After the Eucharist, all adornments will be removed from the church as we remember the fact that Jesus was stripped of his garments on his journey to Calvary. The church will remain open until midnight for meditation and prayer.
On Friday, April 15, we will walk the way of the cross at 8:30 am and 12:00 pm with the Solemn Liturgy of Good Friday. This service is an opportunity not only to remember the crucifixion and death of our Lord, but also to offer solemn prayers for the Church and for the world. It is a somber and beautiful service. Stations of the Cross, a service that enacts and embodies Jesus’ journey to Calvary, will be offered at the Cedar Creek Waterway (beginning at the S. 11th Street entrance) at 5:00.
On Saturday, April 16, there will be two services at Heavenly Rest. At 8:30 am, we will observe the Liturgy of Holy Saturday, a brief and powerful service that recalls the fact that Jesus’ disciples rested on the Sabbath after his death.
As the sun sets at 8:00 that evening, we will gather for the Great Vigil of Easter, the most dramatic service of the Church year, the night when we celebrate the fact that Jesus passed over from death to life. We will begin in the Courtyard with a new fire that symbolizes God’s triumph over the darkness. We will hear the Exsultet, an ancient hymn enjoining us to rejoice with all of creation for the victory of our mighty king. We will hear stories from scripture about God’s saving action in history. We will renew our baptismal covenant. And we will proclaim the Resurrection. It is a powerful and empowering service, an opportunity to renew our trust in the God who raises the dead to life.
We hope that you will use the services during these Great Three Days as an opportunity to experience the drama, intensity, and hope of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection.