Resources For Holy Week
An Introduction To Holy Week
Holy Week is the most significant week of the year for Christian worship. During this week the church remembers the events of Christ’s passion and death. The attention of the worshiper during this week is directed to the Lamb of God, the Suffering Servant, the Savior of the world. In worship the church traces Jesus’ life through the events of the last days before his death. In doing so, it sees again its own sin and failure, but marvels at the love of Christ for the world. This is a week for careful attention, prayer-filled reverence and profound wonder at the love of God shown in Jesus. The following entries provide the historical, theological, and liturgical resources for Holy Week so that worship planners and leaders, students, and all worshipers can participate in the mystery of Christ’s love in worship. Much of the worship of Holy Week is based on centuries-old tradition. This section introduces the reader to the traditional ways in which Holy Week is observed and to the ways ancient traditions may be adapted to worship today. Notice how carefully Holy Week worship follows the scriptural account of Christ’s passion and death. Notice how silence and quiet reflection permeate each service. Notice how these services do not so much seek to explain the mystery of Christ’s love as to stand in awe of it and to receive it in faith.
Resources For Planning Holy Week Worship
Contemporary worship planners have the privilege of working with a rich body of written prayers, hymns, and liturgical texts from every period in the church’s history. When using these resources, be sure to keep in mind the shape of worship for each day in Holy Week, which is described in the following entries.
Worship On Palm / Passion Sunday
Palm Sunday celebrates the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and makes the beginning of his final days toward the Crucifixion and death. This section presents resources that may be used in traditional, creative, and convergence settings of worship.
Worship On Maundy Thursday
The Maundy Thursday service enacts the giving of the new commandment of love, the inauguration of the Lord’s Table (Last Supper), and the journey of Jesus into the Garden of Gethsemane where he was captured and led captive toward his death. The resources of this section are presented to help a congregation recall these initial events of the Passion and to sense their significance for the Christian life.
Worship On Good Friday
Good Friday has always been a solemn day for prayer, repentance, and the remembrance of Jesus’ death on the cross. The resources of this section will help congregations understand the meaning of this day of bright sadness and will provide services to order and organize the spiritual journey of the congregation through corporate worship. Adapt these services to local usage and style.
Other Services For Holy Week
Following are services that may be used in a number of different worship settings of Holy Week. Of particular interest are the various services of Tenebrae and the Way of the Cross. These services order the spiritual pilgrimage of the congregation and communicate the significance of the death of Jesus in a dramatic way.
- An Introduction To Tenebrae Worship
- A Service Of Tenebrae
- A Psalm/tenebrae Service
- A Combined Tenebrae And Seven Last Words Service
- The Way Of The Cross Service
- A Combined Way Of The Cross And Tenebrae Service
- A Mime For The Stations Of The Cross Service
- Guidelines For The Christian Use Of The Seder
- A Service For Holy Saturday