Three Great Days – Holy Week – Preparing for Easter

“Great Three Days” (“Triduum” in Latin):
                             Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday
 
Maundy/Holy Thursday
Exodus 12:1-4, (5-10), 11-14
Instructions for the preparation and celebration of the Passover. This feast celebrates God’s deliverance of the people from slavery and from the “angel of death” in Egypt.
Psalm 116: 1-2, 12-19 
A traditional Passover and Maundy Thursday psalm of thanksgiving for deliverance from slavery and death.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Paul reminds the congregation at Corinth of the origins of Holy Communion, the centerpiece of their Sunday evening worship.
John 13:1-17, 31b-35
John’s account of the events in the upper room on washing the disciple’s feet and a new commandment– to love one another as Jesus loves them.  We call this day Maundy Thursday in English in remembrance of this commandment. Maundy is from the Latin mandare, “to command.”
 
Please Join us at the First Church of Lombard – Chapel on Thursday, April 18th @ 7 O’clock in the evening for a Maundy Thursday Ecumenical Service of Holy Communion and Tenebrae with Combined Choirs.
 
Prayer
We love you, Lord. But even in our love, we cry out in need.
We cry out for strength in times of trial.
We long for hope in times of despair.
We yearn for mercy in the midst of our sin.
Strengthen us, O God, and renew our hope.
Grant your mercy. Feed us with the bread of forgiveness and the water of life,
that we may courageously face our lives and gladly accept your grace.
In your loving name, we pray. Amen.
 
Good/Holy Friday
Isaiah 52:13-53:12.
In context, the speaker is the leadership of Babylon. Here, the leaders realize the peace and unity of their nation (the healing of their wounds) was bought with the blood of the people they had taken into exile and persecuted. As Christians read this text today, we remember our complicity in the death of Jesus.
Psalm 22 
The psalm falls into two distinct parts. The first part is lament with almost desperate begging for healing. The second part, beginning at verse 20b, is thanksgiving for healing. In the version in our hymnal, based on a previous lectionary, the turning occurs at verse 25. Some congregations choose not to use the “healing” verses at all today. If you use them, do not let them be the focus of the rest of the service. Use Response 1 for Good Friday.
Hebrews 10:16-25
The writer portrays the blood of Jesus as covenant blood — a testimony that God has initiated the new covenant with humanity prophesied by Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Because there is a new covenant, those who are its beneficiaries can approach God and give living testimony in the world with holy boldness.
John 18:1-19:42
The four sayings from the crucifix that are part of today’s account are “Woman, here is your son,” “Here is your mother,” “I am thirsty,” and “It is finished.” Let these “four words” stand on their own within the larger narrative of the Passion in John’s Gospel, and see where they lead you and your worshiping community.
 
Prayer
Elusive One, O that our eyes were a fountain of tears to weep for ourselves and our world. Where do you go when all hope fades? Where do you hide when we cry out with the psalmist” “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
In the midst of our pain and despair, we strain to see you arriving in the nick of time. Yet, in our disbelief and dismay, we face the emptiness of your absence and the ache of our despair. Your ways are beyond us, Holy One, shrouding us in mystery.
Be with us in our hour of greatest need, most of all, do not abandon us when we deny you.
Our Sanctuary will be open from 3pm to 8pm — come light a candle, be in silence, be in prayer.
 
Holy Saturday
Job 14:1-14
A lament on the finality of death.
Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16 
A cry for God’s protection in the face of danger and death. If you chant this, consider using Tone 2 with no sung response, or use Tone 2 to sing “In you, O Lord, I seek refuge; let me never be put to shame” as the response.
I Peter 4:1-8
Be prepared to suffer in this life, as Christ suffered, and put sin to death for the sake of your prayers.
Matthew 27:57-66
Joseph of Arimathea requests the body of Jesus be placed in a new tomb he owns. Some religious leaders ask Pilate to place a contingent of guards around the tomb to ensure the followers of Jesus cannot steal the body and claim Jesus rose from the dead.
 
Please make this part of your spiritual discipline. Be in an attitude of prayer as we wait the wonder of Easter!
 

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