Holy Week is the most important week of the Church’s year. It begins with Palm Sunday and ends with Easter Sunday.
On Palm Sunday we remember Jesus’ journey into Jerusalem. It was in the days before the Passover, an important meal for the Jews. Jesus went into Jerusalem with his friends, even though He knew that things were going to e very difficult. The crowds welcomed him with shouts and waving palm branches (perhaps rather like the winners of a major sporting trophy might be welcomed as they tour in an open topped bus!) We distribute palm crosses as symbols of this.
Jesus then had an eventful few days, teaching and evicting the money changers from the Temple!
On the Thursday he gathered with his friends for the Passover meal. This was to be his last meal with them. He washed their feet and shared food and wine. We call this the Last Supper, and the day is called Maundy Thursday. This is the meal we commemorate at the Eucharist. We break bread and share wine as He asked we should in memory of him. At the end of the meal, Judas betrayed Jesus to the authorities, and He was arrested and tried.
On the Friday (we call it Good Friday) Jesus was crucified, and his body laid in a tomb.
On the Sunday the tomb was found to be empty, as Jesus had risen from the dead. Over the next few weeks there were several sightings of the risen Christ.
There are many people who attend church on Palm Sunday and not again until Easter Sunday. This is a pity, because it misses so much of the story. I don’t believe it is possible to truly celebrate Easter if you haven’t been through Holy Week
Here in Leesfield we have services in both churches at the usual times on the Sundays.
On Maundy Thursday there is a Eucharist at St Thomas at 7.30pm to commemorate the Last Supper. On Good Friday there is a service at St Thomas in the morning, 10.30am followed by a short open air service in the village centre at 12.30pm.
On Saturday evening we have the Easter Vigil at St Agnes 7.30pm. We renew our baptism promises, and welcome the light of Christ into church.
I urge you this year to take Holy Week seriously and try to attend at least one service that you don’t usually get to. Easter will be more significant for you if you do!