Dear Trinity Family,
This is the week that changes the world! We call it “Holy Week,” and it sure is holy!
Sunday we celebrate Palm Sunday, when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and, for the only time in his earthly life, large crowds of people recognized and honored him as the Savior. When we wave our palm branches and shout “Hosanna” we are commemorating that unique moment in the past and practicing for heaven (did you know that we’ll wave palm branches in heaven? See Revelation 7:9-10.). Pastor Billy did a great job last Wednesday sharing this great day, which also is intimately connected to children, in chapel with the help of Mrs. Kathryn’s and Mrs. Liz’s VPK class.
As we move through this holy week we’ll spend time in this Wednesday’s chapel tracing the events that lead to Calvary, the tomb, and Easter. Please join Pastor Moore, the teachers, and the children on Wednesday at 8:30 am if you’re able.
Trinity will have a series of services that collectively are called the Triduum, the “Three Days,” Thursday through Saturday, and we’d love to have you join us.
Maundy Thursday gets its name from the Latin word “Mandatum,” commandment, as in “A new commandment (mandatum) I give you, that you love one another.” That “mandatum” turned into “Maundy” in English in the same way that “God be with ye” shortened to “Goodbye,” or “God’s Friday” turned into “Good Friday.” On Maundy Thursday we’ll have worship services at noon and at 7:00 pm which highlight the Last Supper of Jesus that we still celebrate in the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion or the Eucharist, however you name it. The evening service ends with the stripping of the altar, a very solemn and moving time that symbolizes Jesus betrayal, arrest, and mocking as he moved steadily toward the cross.
On Good Friday we have two very different services. The noon service is connected to the “Tre Ore,” the “Three Hours,” focusing on Jesus’ time on the cross. Our7:00 service is a “Tenebrae” or “Shadows” service, with the sanctuary gradually darkening as we extinguish a series of fifteen candles. There is no school that day, but we hope you’ll join us in worship.
The Triduum ends with the hope of Easter on Saturday night as we celebrate Easter Vigil. This service is modeled on the most ancient Christian worship of all, the all-night vigil waiting for Easter to dawn. We only celebrate it for an hour beginning at 6:00 pm, though! We began the three days watching our Savior pour out his love, only to be betrayed and deserted, on Thursday; we continued on Friday seeing his crucifixion through our tears; now we conclude by coming into the darkened church with candles almost as though we’re exploring the tomb, ready to peek around the corner and discover (but not till morning!) that the tomb is, in fact, empty. The service is centered around readings that trace the history of God saving his people.
At 6:30 on Sunday we begin our Easter celebrations with a Sunrise Service in the front courtyard. With the women at the tomb we discover, with bewildered joy, that, in fact, the tomb is empty! This is a great service for children, by the way, and is often one of the highlights of their memories of worship as they grow.
Then we turn to full-blown celebration with services inside the sanctuary at 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00. We hold nothing back—amazing decorations, exuberant music, shouts of that word that your children aren’t saying until then! Every Sunday is a little Easter, a little commemoration of Jesus rising from the dead—well, this is the Big Easter, the all-out celebration of his resurrection and ours. We trust you’ll be at church somewhere for Easter, and if you don’t have a church where you normally attend, please make us your Easter place!
Finally, Pastor Billy will lead the children in an Easter chapel on Wednesday, April 23, starting with surprises around the flagpole. We hope you’ll join us there.
God bless us all as we remember how he saves us!
Rev. Dr. Jeffery C. Moore, Senior Pastor