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Thank you to all who attended Holy Week and Easter Services in 2022.
THE ANGLICAN PARISH OF THE HOLY TRINITY TERRIGAL
HOLY WEEK AND EASTER LITURGIES EXPLAINED
At the end of Lent, we observe Holy Week as a time of special attention given to the commemoration of Our Lord’s Passion.
Liturgy is more about celebration and commemoration than re-enactment. The rich use of symbols helps us do this.
The Eucharist, the celebration of Christ’s saving death, is the primary focus of our liturgies this week. The liturgies of the Easter Triduum: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the Great Vigil of Easter, comprise one great liturgy rather than three separate events, as they together celebrate the great drama of our salvation in Christ. This is why the Liturgies for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday do not conclude with a Blessing, as is normally the case at the Sunday Eucharist.
It is therefore far more meaningful if we attend all three major liturgies in order to enter more fully into the movement of the Paschal Mystery.
PASSION (PALM) SUNDAY
There are two main emphases on this Day: the Procession with Palms commemorating Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, and the Eucharist, which includes the dramatic reading of the Passion. Palm crosses are blessed and distributed to the congregation. Our liturgies are at 7.30am and 9.30am.
This pattern had its origin in Jerusalem, when pilgrims processed from the Mount of Olives into the Great Church in Jerusalem. The dramatic reading of the Passion sets the major theme for the rest of Holy Week.
The name ‘maundy’ comes from the Latin mandatum, which means ‘commandment’. This is the day Jesus gave his disciples the new commandment that they love one another, and washed their feet as a sign of that love.
The liturgy we use is full of rich symbolism. The Gospel reading speaks of love and service, which are vividly expressed in the washing of the feet of twelve people, remembering Jesus’ washing the feet of the twelve disciples.
This is also the night we remember Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples, when he instituted the Holy Eucharist. This is why the service is held in the evening (the service at Terrigal will be at 7pm). At the conclusion, the Altar and Sanctuary are stripped of their ornaments as a sign of the desolation of the cross. The Blessed Sacrament (the consecrated bread and wine left from communion) is carried to the Founders’ Chapel and placed on the altar – the ‘Altar of Repose’ - and stays there all night. A Vigil of Prayer is kept before the Blessed Sacrament until 10pm as a way of sharing with Jesus who prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before his arrest. You may stay for as long or as short a time as you wish. The sacrament is then used for communion on Good Friday.
Over the years a variety of services have been held on Good Friday in Australian Anglican communities. These have expressed different aspects of Christian belief.
At 9:00am the Good FridayLiturgy provides an opportunity to meditate on the cross as well as to pray for the world and the church for which Jesus died. The service is one of great simplicity and austerity, but it is important not to see it as Jesus’ ‘funeral’. We celebrate the Lord’s triumph on the cross and call the day Good Friday – something which is only possible if we see Jesus’ death from the perspective of his resurrection.
The service has four main parts: the Ministry of the Word, the Solemn Prayers, the Veneration of the Cross, and Holy Communion from bread and wine consecrated at the Maundy Thursday Liturgy the night before.
In the afternoon at 2.00pm we gather for prayers, readings and short meditations on the seven last words of Christ on the cross.
HOLY SATURDAY – THE GREAT VIGIL OF EASTER
This is the climax of the whole church year, celebrating the Christian Passover, the victory of Christ over the powers of darkness. Light is a prominent theme in the symbols, readings and hymns.
The liturgy begins at 7pm. The new fire is kindled, the paschal candle lit from the fire, then carried into the church. All this reminds us that the rest of the Easter celebration is seen in the light of the presence of the Risen Christ.
The Ministry of the Word includes readings that rehearse God’s saving acts in the history of Israel, preparing for the presence of Christ.
In the early church, Easter was the time for baptisms, so the water in the font is blessed, we renew our baptismal promises, and are sprinkled with water to remember our baptism. The service continues with the celebration of the Easter Eucharist. The Liturgy will include an offering of incense.
The Easter Season lasts for fifty days, until Pentecost. During this time, the Paschal Candle is alight at all liturgies, the Alleluia is sung again, a festive form of the Great Thanksgiving is used, and we sing hymns and songs of joy.
On Easter Day we gather for two joyful celebrations of the Eucharist: at 7.30am the Easter garden will be blessed, the Eucharistwill be sung and there will an offering of incense.At 9.30am the Eucharist will feature the Trinity Band and Singers.
You are warmly invited to enter into these special days with prayerful expectancy, experiencing the presence of the crucified and raised Jesus as he transforms us through word and sacrament.
Fr Mark Watson
ASH WEDNESDAY AND LENT
On Ash Wednesday as ashes are placed on our foreheads we hear the priest say, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” The words are jarring, maybe a little frightening and definitely out of step with our culture. Rather than be reminded of death, we are encouraged not to think about it; to put it off as long as possible. Our culture glorifies youth and energy and activity. What’s wrong with wanting to maintain the vitality of youth as long as we can by living right, eating right and keeping a positive mental outlook? Absolutely nothing; it’s a worthy goal. But no matter how well we succeed in doing that, the day will come when we will take our last breath. The older we get, the more our mortality confronts us – “earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust” – these words not only remind us of the brevity of life, they also symbolise our need for regular self-examination, repentance and confession.
Lent is also a time for cleansing, renewal and refreshment. While we talk about “giving something up for Lent” it’s also a season to “take something up”. Lent is not intended to be merely some sort of endurance test, but an opportunity to become new and different people. We live out our baptismal calling by entering the water and re-emerging as new people. After the 40 days of Lent how will we “re-emerge” on Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday? We enter with Jesus into the darkness of the cross and the tomb and then re-emerge with him into the light of his resurrection.
Lent is a time to ask ourselves some of the deeper questions such as: What is God inviting me to change this Lent? How do I know what God might be calling me to do? Listening to the stillness and the movements of our hearts; reading and praying the scriptures; then asking, “Where do I feel uncomfortable with the choices I am making? What things have I done that cause some disquiet in me? How do I respond to others? How may the Lord be speaking to me in the little naggings of my heart?” What has gained control in my life that I may need to give up? What needs changing in my life? What do I need more of? Patience? Thoughtfulness? Joyfulness? Unselfishness? Awareness of others? What has got in the way of my being loving and kind? Have I allowed bitterness or resentment to take over somewhere? What would it cost me to change these behaviours? What would my life look like if I gave up some of these destructive patterns of living and behaving?
A leading British investment banker and Christian philanthropist says, “It is good for each of us to look for opportunities to make a fresh start, to determine what our real, substantive priorities should be, and to find something new and positive to give back to people around us and to the world.
“Lent, followed by Easter, gives us the opportunity to detach ourselves from the concerns of mortality and overcome the sorrows of mourning. At the same time, each of us can draw on the energy of Lent to look forward to the rest of our life – and beyond – and to ask ourselves what we want to leave behind when we too have return to dust” (“Energy of Lent” by John Studzinski The Tablet 3 March 2012 p. 9).
I encourage you to begin Lent well by coming to one of our Ash Wednesday liturgies next Wednesday 1st March at 9.30am, 12 noon or 5.00pm. May God help us to keep a holy Lent.