The Triduum, Three Sacred Days
It's one liturgy across three days. We disperse and regather during these three days, but a single liturgy overarches them, encompassing everything that happens in church, at home, at work, at school.
Maundy Thursday, 29 March, Do this in remembrance of me
6:00pm, a hosted parish supper in Hadley Hall with Eucharist, foot washing in the church, stripping of the altar, and procession to the altar of repose
Tonight is the doorway into the Triduum. The word “maundy” comes from the Latin mandatum which means “commandment.” Maundy Thursday celebrates the meal of Jesus’s self-giving, made manifest in the footwashing and in the gift of Bread and Wine. These signs of Jesus’s love and self-offering are the focal points. We reenact Jesus’ demonstration of what it means to be a servant through the ritual of foot washing. The sign is strongest when all members of the community have the opportunity both to have their feet washed and to wash others’ feet. At the conclusion of this service, the altar is stripped, then the whole congregation moves toward the baptismal font, where an altar of repose, or a local version of the Garden of Gethsemane, has been created. The unseen presence of Christ (in the consecrated bread and wine) is made visible, and we focus ourselves for the Night Watch--staying as we can throughout the night--until 7:30am on Good Friday when we receive Holy Communion with these elements.
Good Friday, 30 March, Behold the wood of the cross
7:30am Prayer Book liturgy with Communion at the back of the church
4:00pm A liturgy designed for children and families
7:30pm Prayer Book liturgy with music and the veneration of the cross
Because this is a continuation of Maundy Thursday there is not a procession today, merely an entrance in silence. The focal points of this liturgy are the bare Altar and a large rough-hewn cross. The Adult Choir sings the Passion, followed by the sermon, the offertory, (throughout the Episcopal Church today’s monetary offerings are directed to the church in the Holy Land) and the ancient prayers of the solemn collects. The energy and shape of this liturgy are unfamiliar; it is the trough, the desolate valley of this Three Day journey. The service concludes with the veneration of the cross. All are invited to touch the cross, or to stand near it, or to kneel at it, or to use consecrated oil to anoint the cross.
Holy Saturday, 31 March, In the midst of life, we are in death
9:30am, Prayer Book liturgy
This is among the Prayer Book’s best treasures! Good Friday’s emptiness yields gradually this morning to quiet expectation and preparation. The altar guild, the flower guild, the choir, and all the generous-hearted who are preparing for tonight’s feast gather in the church for this brief, yet powerful, prayer service.
The Great Vigil of Easter, 31 March Suddenly Jesus met them and said,‘Greetings!’
7:30pm The Great Vigil and the First Eucharist of Easter
Our time of waiting is almost over, our work nearly completed. We pilgrims of the Three Days are nearing our destination. We are about to be gathered into the Paschal Mystery, to be seized by its present power, to be transformed. We who have died with Christ in Baptism will rise with him tonight into Easter life. Drawn from ancient sources, this is the most dramatic liturgy of the year. The progression of themes and moods played out on Palm Sunday are reversed. We hear the timeless prophecies of hope. We move from darkness to light. We celebrate baptisms by candlelight. We sing the first “alleluia” of Easter. The church is flooded with light as the Eucharist is celebrated. Bring your own bells and noisemakers! We play with fire, and with water, and sweet-smelling oil; we light a great candle in the darkness and read from the book of our story by its light; rejoicing, we carry our gifts of bread and wine to the Altar, and then the feast continues with a festive reception hosted by the 2018 confirmation class, in Hadley Hall. Our community’s full-on Easter joy, are the ingredients for this late-night party.
Easter Day, 1 April, Alleluia! Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed!
7:30am, The Holy Eucharist
9:00am, Choral Holy Eucharist
10:00am, parish-wide coffee hour in Hadley Hall
11:15am, Choral Holy Eucharist
These identical celebrations of the Eucharist include the Beacon Brass Quintet, massed choirs, and a church full of people singing to proclaim God’s power to bring life out of death. We will hear the great Easter anthems, sing our favorite hymns, and experience everything else that makes for “an Epiphany Easter.” Come early, bring a friend, share the joy. Child care available from 8:30 until 12:30.