This will be a Holy Week unlike any other!
The meaning of this week is the same: Jesus Christ gave himself for us and for all the world to bring us forgiveness and salvation. We will walk with Jesus through the events this week. We will celebrate the events that are the foundation of our hope, rejoicing and sharing in the gifts that He has given us by His grace.
But we will celebrate Holy Week in a profoundly different way! All of our Holy Week services will be live streamed. Please go to this page (http://stjohnslutheran.net/live-streaming-worship-at-st-johns/) for information regarding the services and to link to the live stream itself. All will have an opportunity for your involvement in the service. We encourage you to read through the following regarding our Holy Week services, and how you can prepare to fully engage in our Live Stream Interactive Participatory Worship Services.
For all of these services, we encourage you to download the worship handout prior to the service. The handout contains the words to the hymns and songs, as well as the readings, and the other components of the service. The handout also describes how to worship the Lord with your offering.
Maundy Thursday (April 9, 7:00 PM)
The name “Maundy” comes from the Latin word “mandatum” which means “command.” The traditional gospel reading for this service is the account of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. He then gives them the command, “Love one another, as I have loved you (John 13:34).”
Jesus also showed His love by giving His disciples, then and now, the gift of the Lord’s Supper. We will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper this Maundy Thursday as we gather online. Please refer to this video (https://youtu.be/WNK0XJhQzRQ) in which Pastor Mike explains what this means. Also go to this page (http://stjohnslutheran.net/the-lords-supper-at-st-johns-during-the-covid-19-crisis/) which goes into more detail, including how to prepare for this celebration.
Preparation: Prepare for the Lord’s Supper. Set out the bread and the wine as described on the page mentioned above.
Good Friday (April 10, 7:00 PM)
We will commemorate our Savior’s death on the cross by celebrating our traditional Tenebrae service. By means of a series of readings, hymns, and songs, we will follow Jesus from the Garden of Gethsemane to His burial in the tomb.
The Tenebrae service also typically includes a gradual darkening of the sanctuary, by lowering the lights and extinguishing the Tenebrae candles. This year, we will celebrate the Tenebrae in our homes, so we will need to gather the lights in our homes.
Preparation: Gather eight light sources. They can be candles, fake candles, lamps, flashlights, camp lights, etc. As we progress through the service, you will be invited to put out one light after another. You may also want to gradually darken the lights throughout your house. The service concludes in darkness as we meditate on our Savior’s death and burial.
Easter Vigil (April 11, 7:00 PM)
The Easter vigil service is the first celebration of the resurrection. The service includes a series of readings chronicling the story of salvation in the Old Testament, beginning with the creation.
Regarding lighting, Easter Vigil begins where Good Friday leaves off, in the darkness. We will reverse Good Friday darkness by gradually bringing the lights back on as we walk through the readings
The Easter Vigil also includes a baptism remembrance. We will be affirming and celebrating God’s gift to us in our baptism. Our usual practice is for worshipers to come forward to the baptism font for a blessing in celebration of their baptism. This year, we invite worshipers to use water in their homes for this remembrance.
Preparation: Gather the light sources from Good Friday once again. You will gradually turn them back on. We recommend that you start with your house lights dim as well. They will be turned on with the announcement of the resurrection. Also prepare a small bowl with water. We will be invited to mark each other or ourselves with this water in celebration of God’s gifts in Baptism.
Easter Sunday (April 12, 9:30 AM)
We celebrate our Savior’s victory over death and the hope that is ours because of the resurrection. This is an especially important truth to celebrate this year. Nothing in this world can undermine the hope that we have in Christ. Death itself is overcome in Him. The new creation has begun in Him.
We will not be able to make the Easter Flower Cross this year. But we invite you to take a picture of yourself with flowers you could have brought for the cross. Any flower will do! Even a dandelion! In addition, you may want to decorate your home worship space with flowers.
Preparation: Please send a picture of yourself with a flower or flowers from your yard. Send to Pastor Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will include them in a slide show for our Easter Streaming service. It will be good to celebrate the beauty of the flowers. It will be even better to see one another on this day of hope.
Holy Week 2020
We are thankful for our beautiful sanctuary and the worship that takes place there. We are looking forward to our eventual return. But we are also learning deeply the truth that St. John’s isn’t a building. It isn’t a facility on Linda Vista. It is the people of God, one in Christ, one in our mission, one in caring for one another and lifting up our Savior. May God bless our Holy Week worship!