Holy Week services at St. Patrick’s: A journey with Christ

Special to The PREVIEW

If you go into the stores in town, or for that matter anywhere in the nation, you will see them decorated in festive spring attire, encouraging buyers to turn their thoughts towards Easter.

However, Christians know that this celebration cannot be fully appreciated and acknowledged without first recognizing that the Resurrection came at a severe price. To know rebirth is to first know death.

St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, located at 225 S. Pagosa Blvd., will offer Christians the opportunity to walk with Christ during Holy Week services scheduled throughout the week.

• Palm Sunday, 10 a.m. Holy Eucharist. Service begins outside the church for the blessing of the palms and grand procession into the church.

• Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist and healing service

• Maundy Thursday, 6:30 p.m. celebration of foot washing and Holy Eucharist. Followed by the Agape Meal in the parish hall and the all-night prayer vigil at the altar of repose.

• Good Friday, 5:15 p.m. Music in Remembrance offered by “NightSong” – Sally Neel (piano/organ), Jessica Peterson (flute), and Heidi Tanner (violin). 6 p.m. Good Friday Eucharist and veneration of the cross.

• Holy Saturday, 8 p.m. Easter Vigil. Congregation is encouraged to bring bells to ring.

• Easter Sunday, 10 a.m. festival celebration.

The celebration of Holy Week takes Christians on that journey with Christ beginning on Palm Sunday as Jesus humbly enters Jerusalem on a donkey greeted by wild enthusiastic cheers and a festival celebration, blessing the one who comes in the name of the Lord. But Jesus’ ego is not puffed up by this wild display of adoration. Instead, he soon becomes enraged, turning over the tables of the mercenaries who have set up shop within the walls of the holy temple, seeking to line their pockets with money from the Jews who have traveled many miles on foot to celebrate Passover.

On Maundy Thursday, Christ’s journey to the cross continues. Jesus knows his days are numbered and meets with his beloved disciples in the upper room to break bread and drink wine with them. He demonstrates his deepest love for them by the humble act of washing their feet, and tries to prepare them for what lies ahead, knowing that they cannot possibly fully understand. Jesus tells Judas, hired by the chief priests and elders to betray his whereabouts, to go and do what he must do, knowing that it will be only a matter of hours before he is arrested.

Following the Last Supper, Jesus retires to the garden of Gethsemene to pray. He asks his disciples to stay awake and pray with him, but they are weak and tired and soon fall asleep. Jesus’ full humanity and fear is demonstrated as he prays for God to spare him from the evil brutality that awaits him. And his divinity is equally shown as he completely and willingly subjects himself to God’s will. The soldiers return with Judas in the middle of the night and Jesus is arrested and taken for trial.

On Good Friday, Jesus is condemned to death, brutally whipped, beaten, mocked, and nailed to a cross between two thieves. Yet his final words are words of forgiveness and love, ultimately commending his soul into God’s hands. The world turns dark and trembles as Christ’s spirit leaves his body, leaving the world completely devoid of God.

On Saturday, the world returns from darkness back to light as Christ is resurrected from the tomb. The Easter Vigil recalls the stories from the Old Testament that testify to God’s love and continual rescuing of humanity from evil, ultimately leading us to God’s final sacrifice and redemption through Christ. Bells are rung and joyous hymns are sung as the Light returns to the darkened world through God’s love and grace.

On Easter Day, Christians will celebrate Christ’s resurrection as he makes his first appearance to Mary outside the tomb. She is astonished to realize that evil did not triumph! Hope, love, and grace endure, available forevermore to all of God’s children. Hallelujah!

All are welcome to attend and fully participate in services at St. Patrick’s. “In God’s house, at God’s table, all are invited to be fed.”

For more information about St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, visit the website at www.stpatrickspagosa.org, or call 731-5801.

This story was posted on March 21, 2013.