The services this week are intended to be one service spread out over three days, beginning with
- Maundy Thursday (March 24, 7:00 pm), continuing on
- Good Friday (March 25, 7:00 pm), and culminating in the
- Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday (March 26, 5:30 pm).
- Easter Sunrise (March 27, 6:00 am)
- Easter Day (March 27, 9:00 am)
CELEBRATION OF THE TRIDUUM. . . the holy three days of Christ’s Passover begins on HOLY (MAUNDY) THURSDAY on the eve of our Lord’s Crucifixion. The service on Holy Thursday culminates the Lenten period of preparation for Christ’s Passion and Resurrection and leads into his sacrifice on our behalf. On this day we remember Christ’s sacrificial service demonstrated in his washing of the disciples’ feet, a servanthood enacted on the cross, whose benefits are bestowed in his means of grace. The service culminates with the Lord’s ministry to his people through the Sacrament of the Altar. The depth of Christ’s servanthood is also demonstrated as the altar is reverently stripped in preparation for the church’s observance of Jesus’ death on Good Friday.
GOOD FRIDAY . . . is not observed as a funeral for Christ. It is a day for repentance over sin and restrained joy and praise for the redemption Christ accomplished for us on the cross. In keeping with its character, music is kept to a minimum, though not silenced, and elaborate words of praise are omitted. Because this service is part of the Triduum, the three holy days, it has neither an entrance rite nor benediction. The concluding hymn ensures that the final note of the service is one of triumph, for God’s faithful know the end of the story.
THE VIGIL OF EASTER . . . which is celebrated at the end of Holy Saturday as the conclusion to the sacred Triduum, ushers in the celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord. To hold vigil means to “keep watch.” In some places in the early centuries of the church’s life, a vigil in expectation of Christ’s return at Easter became a common feature of the celebration of his Crucifixion and Resurrection. It was also a common time for individuals to be baptized. Because the Vigil of Easter marks the final day in the sacred Triduum, the service ends with the Benediction (which has not been heard since the Triduum was begun) and the Easter acclamation: Christ is Risen!