Holy Week at Hope Church
I remember back to December 3rd, circled with the worship team praying before the 11:00 service. If you recall, December 3rd was the first Sunday in Advent. Advent marks the beginning of the church year, and as we prayed before the service, I had thrill as I realized we were about to enter into the story of Jesus once again. Maybe in the back of my mind I knew that those Advent candles would give way to Tenebrae darkness and eventually Easter joy.
This is the great arch of Christianity: Jesus, the God-man, come to live with his creation and die for the sin of that creation only to break the curse of death when he rose early on the first day of the week. The church calendar may not be expressly written in the pages of the Bible, but it’s a beautiful tradition that Christians have followed for centuries. The church calendar says that even time itself is now conformed to the gospel. I love that at Hope we have a rich tradition of observing the church calendar. Rather than try to describe everything that happened from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, I’d like to share some pictures with you.
“So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!’” John 12:13
On Palm Sunday the kids led us in a palm parade.
“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” John 13:14
We celebrated Maundy Thursday with foot washing and Communion in the Social Events room.
Good Friday Noon
“Jesus was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you…put him to death by nailing him to the cross.” Acts 2:23
We remembered Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins as we hammered nails into the cross.
Good Friday Tenebrae
“And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.” Mark 15:33
Tenebrae means “darkness” in Latin. As we read scripture and the choir sang sections from Handel’s Messiah, the sanctuary gradually got darker. We sat for some time in complete darkness, remembering the death of Jesus.
“He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.” Matthew 28:6
We celebrated Jesus’s victory over death with music, preaching, and the reading of the Easter story in three languages close to the Hope community: English, Lao, and Spanish.
The story is not over! We are a part of God’s story, and he is using us even as we await his coming again in glory.
By Hilary Ritchie
Photos by Steve Hong, Yon Moya, and KC DiNardo