On Palm Sunday, we’ll enter into Holy Week. We’ll wave palm branches and cry hosan-na, celebrating Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. But the mood will quickly turn, and we’ll look ahead to Jesus’s last days.
On Thursday at 6:30 p.m., we’ll remember the Last Supper. In the manner of the ancient church, we’ll gather for prayer and a meal. To put a modern twist on things, we’ll gather on Zoom rather than in person. Bring a meal, pour yourself a glass of wine or brew a cup of tea, and fire up your phone or computer or tablet. If you’d like some inspiration for a delicious dinner, you might want to try Maury Wolfe’s lamb stew or Sara Griffen’s len-til soup. But microwaved pizza will also do just fine. We call Thursday’s gathering an “agape meal.” “Agape” means love—the transcendent, self-giving love of God—the love we strive to share every time we gather together.
Following the 6:30 agape meal on Zoom, we’ll switch to YouTube for the traditional Maundy Thursday liturgy and stripping of the altar. We’ll remind each other of Jesus’s new commandment (“mandatum”), to love one another just as he has loved us.
Beginning at 10 p.m., we are invited to come pray for an hour during the all-night vigil in the Garden Chapel, where we’ll remember Jesus’s prayers in another garden on the out-skirts of Jerusalem.
On Friday, at 8:00 a.m., less than an hour after sunrise, we’ll gather again in the Garden Chapel for the Good Friday Liturgy, as we remember Jesus’s arrest, trial, and execution. We’ll gather again online at noon, at the hour of Jesus’s crucifixion, and in the Garth at 4:00 p.m. as we walk the Way of the Cross.
Saturday is a day of quiet, of reflection, of waiting. On Saturday night, after sunset, at 8:00 p.m., we’ll gather in darkness in the Garth. We’ll kindle the Easter fire. We’ll tell the great stories of our faith. We’ll baptize children in the Bethesda fountain by candlelight. And when the time is right, we’ll proclaim the Resurrection and we’ll celebrate the first Eucharist of Easter.
And, of course, on Sunday, we’ll welcome all who wish to join us to celebrate the Resur-rection at a series of simultaneous outdoor services on the Bethesda grounds (reservations are required).
I hope you’ll join us at as many of these services as you can, that you’ll fully enter with us into the journey of Holy Week.
The Rev. Margaret McGhee
Associate for Stewardship and Digital Ministry