Holy Week at Congregational Church
This coming week is one of my favorite church services of the year. I bet you think I’m discussing Easter, but I’m pondering Maundy Thursday. Sure, what is not to like with the joy of Easter, which dovetails nicely with spring (well, sometimes, anyway!) Holy Week beings on the Christian calendar on Sunday, April 2, with Palm Sunday. Maundy Thursday follows on April 6.
What I appreciate about Maundy Thursday is the quiet reflection by candlelight. Most church services take place in the bright morning light. Being at church in the evening is a different mood, making more space for contemplation. The main activity of the service focuses on the readings of Jesus’s last night and sharing the Last Supper with his disciples. After each lesson in the service, we extinguish a candle, so the light gets dimmer as the service goes along.
It might be easy to think of this service as a downer, but I don’t experience it negatively. To me, Maundy Thursday is a reminder to face the world as it really is. Before we move to the Easter celebration, we sit in the dim light and reflect on life's challenges. We all carry some burden; we know people around us are suffering. Sitting in the candlelight together reminds us that we are not alone. God draws near and is with us as a light shining in the darkness. Easter morning means more to me, having spent time in the night facing the reality of suffering. It helps me find hope that does not pretend life is always fine. True hope emerges after passing through the shadows and into the dawn.
If you have a church home, I encourage you to attend Holy Week services before Easter for the whole experience. Everyone is welcome to join us at the Congregational Church of Boothbay Harbor. Our schedule for Holy Week and Easter is below:
Sunday, April 2 – Palm Sunday Service at 10 a.m.
Thursday, April 6 – Maundy Thursday Service at 7 p.m.
Sunday, April 9 - Easter Sunrise at 6:06 a.m. at 194 McKown Point, West Boothbay (Maine Aquarium)
Easter Service at 10 a.m. with kids' Easter egg hunt to follow.
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