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Entry into Holy Week – St. Nick’s News Mar 22, 2024

Full St. Nick’s News for March 22, 2024

Dear Friends,

This Sunday we will re-enact Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem with the blessing and parade of palms. We will also hear one of the four Passion Narratives. There are four Gospels so, naturally, there are four versions of the Passion – Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, his arrest, trial, and crucifixion. In our lectionary (yearly readings) cycle, we are in year B and will hear the Passion of Jesus Christ according to Mark.

In the narrative form of the Passion Story, the words are broken down into the different characters and It is the custom in many churches to have members read the different parts. If you haven’t heard the Passion Gospel read in this way, it is quite moving. There is something about hearing your friends and church family recite the words of the Gospel that invokes a humility and openness to God’s work in Jesus for the sake of the world.

The church began this practice of reading the Passion on Palm Sunday knowing that not everyone can attend additional worship services during Holy Week – the week between Palm Sunday and Easter. At St. Nicholas, we offer services throughout Holy Week but also recognize that doctor appointments, work, school, and life can sometimes derail our best efforts to attend worship. If you can attend, Holy Week services are offered in the hope that they will help you reflect more fully on the gift Jesus gives us in His life, ministry, death, and resurrection.

Reading, listening to, or participating in the Passion narrative is so important before we celebrate Easter. It is a call, to us, to remember that Jesus loves sacrificially. He loves us and the world with every ounce of His being – every word, every action, every part of his fleshy body. If you can’t come to either Palm Sunday or Good Friday (when we read the Passion from John’s Gospel) you can read it here.

Good Friday is the day we remember Jesus’ crucifixion before our Easter celebration of His resurrection. One of the reasons we call this day Good, or Holy, is because we believe it shows us the depth of God’s love and goodness and faithfulness for us – God’s beloved children. At St. Nick’s, we offer traditional worship at noon where we venerate (show our honor and reverence for) the cross. We also have a drop-in Intergenerational Stations of the Cross from 2pm to 6pm. The Stations are a come and go event – allowing you to take as much time as you need to pray and reflect.

I have found walking through the stations of the cross adds to my readiness for Easter joy. At this event, you can pray the stations with a booklet and look at the pictures on our wall. You can also engage in thought-provoking prayer activities that give you more time to reflect on Jesus and his engagement with the other characters in our scriptures. Each prayer station activity is carefully chosen to help you reflect on your relationship with Jesus.

For example, when Jesus is placed in the tomb, you will be invited into picking up a smooth stone and painting a cross on it. You will be asked to pick up a prayer card and carry the stone around with you on Holy Saturday – the day between Good Friday and Easter. You will be reminded that even though Jesus is in the Tomb and we feel alone, we know that God never leaves us. The stone is a tangible reminder for the stone that gets rolled away on Easter. As we carry the stone we embrace our sacramental heritage and recognized that the material things in life remind us of God. God is with us when life is hard and we feel alone. God is with us even when we feel like all of life has become a tomb. We pick up the stone and carry it to remind us of the one who saves us, knows this hardship, and journeys with us on the way to Easter joy.

I hope to see you this week. I hope and pray for a blessed Holy Week for you.

God’s Peace, Love, and Blessings,