2023 Holy Week Liturgies at Christ Church
Holy Week Services:
Maundy Thursday 7:00pm:
A Eucharist Service with foot-washing
Good Friday: 12:00pm to 3:00pm in the church sanctuary
Dorchester Walk of the Cross beginning at 4:00 PM
April 9, 2023 Passion and Easter Sunday service
will be at 9:00AM
On Wednesday of Holy Week we anticipate the coming Three Days with Tenebrae from the Book of Common Prayer Occasional Services. This service centers on singing Psalms, a reading from Lamentations, and a reading from St. Augustine’s commentary on Psalm 55. There is ample a time for quiet reflection in the course of this powerful liturgy. This Tenebrae is a traditional Anglican/Episcopalian liturgy for Wednesday of Holy Week, and is designed to serve as anticipation of and preparation for the liturgies of the Triduum.
Beginning very early in the worship life of Church, the services of the three days (triduum in Latin) we know as Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Vigil of Easter came to be seen as the center of all that the church did and was to become. The liturgy of these three days is the liturgy from which flows all the other worship of the Christian Community; these three days are the center of God’s work of saving and restoring creation – Eucharist, Cross, Resurrection.
For a good bit of the life of the church, the importance of these days was lost. It was the liturgical renewals of the mid-20th century, including with Vatican II in the early 1960’s, that led to the 1979 Book of Common Prayer (and similar liturgical resources for Lutheran in 1978, and Presbyterians and Methodists in the early 1980’s). This period of liturgical renewal sought to recover the importance of these days and their liturgies among the Protestant traditions. Unfortunately, many of our churches still have not come to appreciate the power and importance of Triduum.
Maundy Thursday: On the night before he was betrayed, Jesus gathered with his disciples for a Passover meal. In the course of this meal, he washed the disciples’ feet (according to John) and shared with them a meal that became our Holy Communion (according to Matthew, Mark, and Luke). The day takes its name from the Latin mandatum (mandate, commandment) in the readings and actions of the day – in the John’s gospel the command to love one another as Jesus has loved us, and the commandment in the first three gospels to remember Jesus by sharing bread and wine. We gather in the Church, with foot-washing (or hands for those who so desire), and celebrate the Eucharist. We will then have the solemn stripping of the chancel in preparation for Good Friday.
The Good Friday noon liturgy will be the liturgy from the Book of Common Prayer.
The Walk of the Cross ends at Christ Church about 6 PM.
In some traditions, Easter Vigils can last 3 or more hours. The readings recount the Old Testament history of God’s work of renewing and restoring. Following the readings, the service continues with a Remembrance and Affirmation of Baptism, and concludes with the first Eucharist of Easter.3