THE TIME OF easter holy week
The week before Easter is called Holy Week.
Our Lenten preparation and repentance deepens' as we focus on the events of Jesus' life from His entrance into Jerusalem until His death on the cross and burial in the garden tomb.
Palm Sunday, the first day of Holy Week, commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-11). Because the complete account of the Lord's Passion from Matthew, Mark, or Luke is often read, this Sunday is also called the Sunday of the Passion.
On Holy (Maundy) Thursday, the Church gives thanks to Jesus for the institution of His Supper. This is a feast day, and the color used to decorate the church is white. The Holy Thursday service closes with the stripping of the altar. This reminds us of how our Lord stripped to the waist to waist to wash His disciples' feet-and how He was stripped and beaten before His crucifixion.
Good Friday is the most solemn of all days in the Christian Church; yet a note of joy remains, as the title of the day indicates. On Good Friday, as we remember that on account of our sin the Lord was crucified and died, we give joyful thanks to God that all sin and God's wrath over sin falls on Jesus and not on us, and that by His grace we receive the benefit of this most sacrificial act.
During Holy Week, we worship our Lord, who gave His life for us.
Matthew 26-27 | Mark 14-15 | Luke 22-23 | John 18-19
HOLY WEEK PRACTICES AND TRADITIONS
- In many churches, the color for Holy Week continues to be violet. In others, the color is scarlet, a deep blood red, Scarlet reminds us of Jesus' blood shed as He suffered and died for our sins.
- Many congregations read the Passion narrative during the special midweek service of Lent. But on each day of Holy Week, the whole story of the events leading to Jesus' death and burial is read from a single Gospel.
- While in Lent, we forego using the joyous Alleluia response, and we do not sing the Gloria in Excelsis. In Holy Week, we go a step further as we give up singing the Gloria Patri-our joyous praise to the Trinity at the end, all the Psalms we use in worship. Omitting these joyous words makes our worship even more reserved and somber.
- Many churches observe Holy Week by gathering for special services throughout the week.