Lent is over, Palm Sunday is upon us, and you are invited into the Paschal mystery. The mystery of faith, the mystery of life and death, and the mystery that defines who we are and what we do. Without this mystery, without the sorrow and joy, the life and death, we are not able to reach into the Scriptures and seek out the one true God calling each and everyone of us by name into the same death suffered by Christ, starting with his triumphant entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey through the betrayal on Maundy Thursday and the death remembered on Good Friday and the long night of Saturday that brings us into the glory of Easter morning’s alleluias sung.
Please join us and be filled with the dramatic stories, songs, and prayers that tell the story of who we are. Below are the service times along with a bit about The Three Days and what to expect. God bless and sustain you – perhaps this might be the year you take part in Palm Sunday and the Three Days and allow your Easter to never be the same again!
March 25 Palm Sunday 9:40 am and 4:00 pm
March 29 Maundy Thursday 7:15 pm
March 30 Good Friday 7:15 pm
March 31 Easter Vigil 7:30 pm
Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. In the gospel we hear how Jesus rode in on a donkey – or two depending on the account – while those around him shouted "Hosanna to the Son of David" and "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” They believed, as we believe today, that this was the entry of the messiah into the city of Jerusalem.
The celebration of Palm Sunday dates to the late fourth Jerusalem Church. Then, the Palm Sunday ceremony consisted of prayers, hymns, and sermons while the attendees visited the many sites across the Holy Land. At the final site, the place of the ascension of Christ to heaven, the clergy would read from the gospels concerning the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. In the early evening they would return to the city shouting: "Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord." The young people would carry palm and olive branches as the people returned through the city back to the church, where they would hold evening services.
By the fifth century, the Palm Sunday celebration had spread as far as Constantinople. By the sixth and seventh centuries two new Palm Sunday traditions arose – the ritual blessing of the palms, and a morning procession instead of an evening procession. By the eighth century, the celebration received the name "Dominica in Palmis," or "Palm Sunday."
This Sunday we will take part in these ancient traditions, blessing palms on the steps of our church and a morning procession to Luther Towers. When we return to the church, we will once again process together into the sanctuary waving palm branches (adults and children are invited to do so) singing and rejoicing at Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem – joining our voices with the saints shouting “blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” and “hosanna in the highest.” Then, at 4:00 pm we will join together for a service of healing and anointing. We will once again hear the scripture concerning the entry into Jerusalem followed by a procession through the city calling to mind the procession Jesus took on behalf of those we are called to serve as his church in Wilmington. In lieu of visiting holy sites, we will visit sites that stand to call us to burn with a passion for justice and to stand with the poor and disenfranchised, the young and the old, together we take this walk to proclaim the kingship of Christ - the kingship of the one that came to save all.
Yours in Christ,