Holy Week & Easter Worship

Palm Sunday, April 9
8, 9:30 & 11 a.m.
Preacher: Pastor Lars Olson

Maundy Thursday, April 13
Noon & 7 p.m.  
Holy Communion
(Fifth-grade First Communion, 7 p.m.) 
Preacher: Pastor Katherine Olson

Good Friday, April 14
Noon &  7 p.m.
Preacher: Pastor Lars Olson

Easter Vigil: Saturday, April 15
5 p.m. (Sanctuary) Holy Communion
Preacher: Pastor Katherine Olson

Easter Sunday, April 16
6, 8, 9:30 & 11 a.m.
Preacher: Pastor John Christopherson

  • Easter Breakfast, 7 – 10 a.m.
    Reformation Hall
    Scrambled eggs, sausage, donut holes, muffins, fruit, juice & coffee
  • Genesis Cafe 10 – 11 a.m. Reformation Hall
    Muffins, donut holes,
    coffee and juice

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About Holy Week

“Save us now!”

By Zachary Rygiel, Director of Music
Reprinted from First Word, March 2016

Our observance of Lent culminates with a week we call Holy. Central to the Christian faith and the Church calendar is the Easter triduum. Latin for “three days,” these times of worship relate Jesus’ institution of the Lord’s Supper on Maundy Thursday, his betrayal, death and burial on Good Friday, and the Resurrection of our Lord on Easter morning. 

This snapshot of Holy Week is probably recognizable to many of us. We try to familiarize our world with the cross of Christ by reducing Jesus’ suffering and death to a decorative necklace or other piece of jewelry worn as a symbol of faith. Easter is advertised in grocery and department stores with decadent displays of chocolate and holiday candy. Even in the entertainment industry, the stories surrounding the Passion of our Lord have been popular, inspiring both movies and musicals. With all of these influences, it is easy to overlook our reason for celebration.

In an effort to better focus our attention toward Christ’s death and resurrection, Holy Week begins in worship, where we celebrate Sunday of the Passion or Palm Sunday. Far less familiar than the events that close Holy Week, this service is divided into two parts. The first portion relates Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, and later shifts to an account of His betrayal, suffering, death, and burial. 
In many congregations, this worship service is a study in stark contrasts. Having spent five weeks in the penitential season of Lent, the celebratory opening of Palm Sunday worship might seem odd or even out of place. Reading sections of Christ’s Passion may seem equally strange. The Scripture reading appointed for Sunday of the Passion-Palm Sunday can help to reconcile these ideas. Here is a portion of the reading for the day, Matthew 21:1-11:

“A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!’”

Two words in this text are especially important. The first is Hosanna, a one-word prayer and cry for help meaning “Save us now!” Secondly, the crowd calls Jesus blessed. At its root meaning, the word blessed refers to one that is connected to God and the eternal. In these two words, the crowd acknowledges their desperate and immediate need for a Savior. They call on Jesus – one certainly connected to God as the Word made flesh – for salvation. 

On Palm Sunday, we join the throngs of Christian worshippers and offer the same words of praise. Just as the crowd cried for a Savior, we offer our hosannas to Christ in spoken word and song, confessing our need for God’s saving grace and mercy. In God’s Word proclaimed, we hear of Christ’s actions for a world in need. God has claimed us as His own, and promises to keep us in faith. We are connected to Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, His suffering and death on Good Friday, and His resurrection on Easter morning. Each event forms the story of salvation. In Jesus Christ, God has answered our prayers. We are saved now – and for eternity.