Your “Holy Week Tour Guide”
I have led a group of pilgrims to the Holy Land 10 different times. My job is to take them to the right places, point them out, read the appropriate passage of scripture…and try to help bring that place and moment alive for them. If it “works,” stories they have known for decades suddenly become vibrant and more real. I like to say that these experiences take the Bible from black and white to color.
That’s also what we hope to do with this week that we call Holy Week. Most of you know well the stories of this, the last week of Jesus’ earthly life. You have lived with them since your Sunday School days. The Triumphal Entry, the Last Supper, Gethsemane, the Trial before Pilate, the Cross, the Tomb…and, at last, the EMPTY TOMB. We know and treasure these truths as central to our Christian faith.
But…sometimes they become black and white. We’d like to help make them technicolor; to help breathe new life into old, precious stories. So…I am your Tour Guide on this Special Edition, Maundy Thursday blog. My challenge to you: Pick one new thing that you’ve never tried…and give it a try! See if this doesn’t make your own experience of Holy Week that much more…well…holy. Here we go.
First, tonight, Maundy Thursday Service at 7:00 pm. This is one of my favorite services of the year and, if you’ve never attended it, I cannot adequately describe the power of this experience. It is different for us; a service of darkness and quiet. Beautiful music, times of reflection, communion. And, most unusually for us, it begins and ends in silence. In this cacophonous world, it is a moment of gentle bliss. Please join us! You’ll thank me.
Tomorrow, Good Friday Day of Prayer. This is on our YouTube channel starting at 6:00 a.m. and continuing every three hours throughout the day, at 9:00 am, noon, 3:00, and 6:00 pm. Please join me in remembering…and praying through…the last day of Jesus’ life before his crucifixion. Your pastors will lead you through this day of prayer and reflection. We are posting premiere notifications on YouTube now and if you are subscribed and logged in to YouTube and have your device notifications set to “on” you can receive alerts when we air those reflections. Find our YouTube channel here.
Holy Saturday. Did you know that’s what it is called? This is the traditional day of waiting. We are between the cross and the empty tomb…and we wait in faith for God to keep his promise. This year, in our renewed commitment to prayer, we are meeting at 2:30 in the parking lot for a Holy Saturday Prayer Vigil at 2:30 pm in the Chapel Hill parking lot (meet at Door D). We’ll pray for people to come to worship and experience the saving power of Jesus Christ.
And FINALLY, Easter! Resurrection Day! The greatest day in the history of humanity. Three services: Classic at 8:30 and two moderns at 10:00 and 11:30 am. Now…to make your Easter experience even richer and more pleasant…and to make room for the many guests that will be coming, I need to ask a couple of favors. First, DON’T COME AT 10:00! I know…that’s a little harsh. But please, will you come to either 8:30 or 11:00 services. 10:00 will be packed, packed, packed out…and we need several hundred of our family to choose the earlier or later service. And second favor? Please park at the far end of the parking lot…or even down our road to North Creek.
Oops…I have a third favor to ask. PLEASE, be great hosts! Please greet everyone you see, especially those you don’t know, as if this is YOUR home and YOU are throwing this party. Because it is…and you are!
As I said at the start, I challenge you to pick one thing you’ve never tried…and add it to your Holy Week experience. My prayer for you this Easter is that you will be RE-astounded with the power of the resurrection…as if you’d never heard this story before!
Christ is risen. He is risen indeed!
HOLY WEEK & EASTER
“Maundy” comes from a Latin word that means “command”, referring to Jesus’ command to his disciples to love and serve one another, which he demonstrated by washing their feet during the Last Supper. We also trace the theme of the “garden” from the time of Eden through Jesus’ suffering in Gethsemane and the tree of life in the new heaven and earth as told in the Book of Revelation.
Join us throughout the day as Chapel Hill pastors reflect on the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Despite the fact that this was a painful and tragic event, it is considered “good” because it represents the ultimate sacrifice made by Jesus for the forgiveness of humanity’s sins. The term “good” in this context comes from an older English usage of the word, which meant “holy” or “pious.” It is believed that the term “Good Friday” originated from the medieval English phrase “God’s Friday,” which was used to describe the day of Jesus’ crucifixion.
PRAY FOR EASTER SUNDAY
Sat, April 8, 2:30 pm, Chapel Hill parking lot
Join us for an Easter Vigil prayer walk in the Chapel Hill parking lot (meet at Door D). Rain or shine, we’ll pray for people to come to worship and experience the saving power of Jesus Christ.
Easter is the most important Christian holiday and celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. It is considered the foundation of the Christian faith and represents hope, new life, and redemption.