Home  |  Sitemap  |  A A A
St. James
Episcopal Church

Holy Week Services

March 25, 2018

Holy Week, which begins on March 25th with Palm Sunday, is the most important week of our liturgical year. Often called “Passion Week,” the week following the Sunday of Palms should bring us to a fuller and deeper understanding and appreciation of how much God loves us and sacrificed for us. As Christians, Holy Week is a time for us to be more focused on our own spiritual life and coming to terms with priorities, the need for reconciliation, and anticipating Easter’s promise. I encourage you to come to as many services as is possible for you and your family during the course of the week. Below is a synopsis of each of our services of Holy Week.

Sunday, March 25th, Palm Sunday/Passion Sunday – as part of our regular Sunday worship we gather to celebrate Christ’s entry into Jerusalem and read the Passion story. We commemorate this with a special procession beginning at the corner of High Street and Mountain Road (for the 10:15 service only; we will gather outside the church for the 8 o’clock service). We will sing, wave our Palm fronds, and march as with Christ as we come to the Church. Please gather at the High Street corner at 9:45 a.m. as we will process together with First Church parishioners.

Wednesday, March 28th at 7 p.m. Tenebrae – Tenebrae literally means ‘darkness’ or ‘shadows’ in Latin. We present a series of wonderful readings as 7 candles are extinguished one at a time, until even the “Christ” candle is hidden, as if in the tomb. Tenebrae prepares us for the coming three days of Holy Week.

Thursday, March 29th at 7 p.m., Maundy Thursday – Maundy is from the Latin maunde, mande, and mandatum, meaning “an order.” On the night before Jesus died He said to His disciples, “a new commandment I give to you, that you love one another” (John 13:34). We wash each other’s feet, as we may be willing, as a sign of our own call to serve one another in humility and love, as Jesus commanded. The Holy Sacrament is taken out of the church and placed “in repose” in the Chapel, until the next day. Traditionally, the parish keeps vigil, with volunteers who will spend an hour “with Jesus,” through the night, as He goes through His arrest and trial.

Friday, March 30th at 11:30 a.m. and 7 p.m., Good Friday – our mid–day service will be an intimate, contemplative service with short readings, Taizé music, and much time for reflection. At the 7 p.m. service we will observe the Veneration of the Cross, and taking of Holy Eucharist from the Reserved Sacrament, honoring Jesus as He lays dark in the tomb. For a fleeting moment, we feel outside the reach of Jesus, who is taken from us and placed into the ground, away from us. The low point of Holy Week, as Jesus dies on the Cross.

Saturday, March 31st at 7:30 p.m., The Great Easter Vigil – at sundown we process into the Church from the front lawn, after the lighting of the Easter fire outside, and begin with the glorious strains of the Exsultet. After readings and remembering Jesus’ sacrifice, we bring up the lights and find the joy of Alleluia again, for the first time since before Ash Wednesday. Jesus is risen! A beautiful and powerfully moving liturgy.

Easter Sunday, April 1st at our usual times (8 a.m. and 10:15 a.m.) – Jesus is risen indeed! Joy abounds as we celebrate with uplifting music. An Easter egg hunt will follow the second service, after we have gathered in the parish hall for fellowship and refreshments.