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Holy Week Worship, Outreach, and Formation: Overview and Links

April 6, 2020
At-A-Glance: Holy Week, April 6-12
 Monday-Wednesday in Holy Week
Maundy Thursday
 9:30 p.m.    Gethsemane Watch begins
Good Friday
Holy Saturday
 7:00 p.m.     Easter Eve Service of Light
Easter Sunday
 9:45 a.m.      Festival Worship
Easter Evening
 7:00 p.m.       Live Discussion of the Emmaus Podcast
Holy Week Outreach
As described in greater detail below, Sherrill House has a critical need for masks, hand-sanitizing solution, disinfectant wipes, and Covid-19 personal protective equipment (PPE). If you can help, please email Pattyanne Lyons, Director of Development, at plyons@sherrillhouse.org, or email the Director of the Rector’s Office, Alison Poor, at apoor@trinitychurchboston.org. Alison will partner with the Rev. Tom Kennedy, who will coordinate with Sherrill House our offers of support.
Dear Trinity Church and friends,
What a Grace-filled Palm Sunday we shared yesterday! More than 150 people joined us bright-and-early for our live, Liturgy of the Palms services, and as many as 1,000 people worshiped with us live at 9:45 a.m. Likewise, we enjoyed teeming Community Hours and Formation programs, concluding with the launch of our evening read-alouds of C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce. Thanks be to God!
Far more important than any measurable metrics, our time together on Palm Sunday – set movingly in prayers and preaching, scripture and song, learning and loving – helped us find familiar footing in this unusual time. While our “pilgrimage-in-place” on this untraveled, social-distancing road continues - its length still unknown, its destination still unclear – we now take shared heart in knowing where we Trinitarians will travel this week: from Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem; to the intimacy in the Upper Room; through the terror of Calvary; and, finally, to the glory of the empty tomb.
You may have noted that our Palm Sunday’s Morning Prayer did not close with a customary dismissal. Instead, we understand that the worship we began yesterday will not conclude until we supper with Jesus and the disciples in Emmaus on the Day of the Resurrection. Therefore, we hope the great many pilgrims who gathered yesterday will continue with our Holy Week worship: described below, following a portion of the scripture appointed for each occasion:
Palm Sunday
A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowd that went ahead of Jesus and that followed were shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!’ (Matthew 21:1-11)
We invite everyone to pin their Palm Sunday branches to the front door of their home (its interior or its exterior); to take a photograph of the door with the pinned branches; to post it to social media with #BeingTrinityChurch; and to email the photo to apoor@trinitychurchboston.org. We will assemble collages of these images that we will share with the parish during this week and into Easter.
Holy Week Monday-Wednesday: 7 p.m. The Great Divorce Read-aloud; 8:30 p.m Compline
Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the son of man to be glorified (John 12:20-36).
Beginning at 7 p.m, we hope you will join the Rev. Bill Rich for his read-aloud of C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce. Following 45 minutes of reading, he and I will facilitate a short reflection on what we hear each evening. This timing will allow us to conclude before our final three Compline services of Lent, the gathering for which starts at 8:15 p.m, with the formal prayers following at 8:30 p.m.
Maundy Thursday: 7 p.m. Worship; 8:15 p.m. The Great Divorce concludes; 9:30 p.m Gethsemane Watch Begins
Jesus got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him (John 13:1-7, 31b-35).
One of the most powerful worship experiences of any year, this Holy Week’s Maundy Thursday liturgy will draw upon the custom of washing one another’s feet as we would do were we physically together – all as we receive the mandatum of Christ, to do for one another what he has done for his friends.
While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will never drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom’ (Matthew 26:17-30).
On Maundy Thursday, we also recall the “Narrative of Institution,” that is, the story of Jesus’ last supper, that long-ago table upon which we set our Eucharistic fellowship. During this special week, we will celebrate our first Eucharist since we last gathered in person on March 8. However, all of the bread blessed this night will be “reserved” – that is, saved until that first Sunday when we gather again at our Copley Square altar.
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to them … ‘I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.’ And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want, but what you want.’ Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ‘So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial’ (Matthew 26:36-56).
As our Maundy Thursday worship concludes, we will begin a “Gethsemane Watch” through the hours of the night. Recalling Jesus’ gathering with his disciples in the garden just before his arrest, we honor Jesus’ charge to “Stay awake and pray.” The Watch will begin with the concluding installation of The Great Divorce read-aloud, from 8:15-9:15 p.m. We will then, pray through the night in half-hour segments via Zoom. The Watch will run from 9:30 p.m, to 11:30 a.m. the next morning, just before our Good Friday worship begins. To sign-up for times in the Watch, please email Marissa Hall at mhall@trinitychurchboston.org. Prayer resources for the Watch will be available on our website.
Good Friday: 12 p.m. Worship from the Book of Common Prayer
Standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to his disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour, the disciple took her into his own home … A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So the soldiers put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished’ (John 18:1-19:42).
From the Book of Common Prayer, our Good Friday worship will reflect on the Passion in song, sermon, and prayer. Music will include the hauntingly beautiful “O sacred head, sore wounded,” as well as the powerful, congregational hymn, “When I survey the wondrous cross.” The “Solemn Collects” appointed for Good Friday resonate in form and substance with the demanding “Litany of Penitence” we prayed on Ash Wednesday, and this Week’s petitions have been enriched with prayers mindful of the pandemic.
Holy Saturday: 7 p.m. Worship
On that day, the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and glory of the survivors of Israel. Then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over its places of assembly a cloud by day and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night. Indeed, over all the glory there will be a canopy. It will serve as a pavilion, a shade by day from the heat, and a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain (Isaiah 4:2,5-6).
As our Saturday draws to a close, we will gather at the hour we would customarily convene for the Easter Vigil. On this special night we will be led by the Choristers, our children’s choir, as our retelling of the Passion story continues: not only with the Gospel recounting Joseph of Arimathea’s mercies, but with Isaiah’s reminder of God’s promise to light our path. In this service, we will kindle the new Paschal fire and light a red, ambry lamp, made to burn continually for more than a week. In many churches, this lit candle signals the continuing presence of Christ, and we will keep ours lit, passing its light to a fresh lamp during our Friday Compline services through the Easter season. Then, on that glad day when we finally return to worship in our church home, we will process to the altar the last of these lamps, along with our consecrated bread, and, from that fire – borne from parish home to parish home for weeks – we will light our new Paschal candle.
Easter Morning: 9:45 a.m. Festival Worship
The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.” This is my message for you’ (Matthew 28:1-10).
On this Easter morning, we will worship in the Eucharistic form, leading to the crescendo of a special prayer recounting God’s creation and redemption of the world; retelling Jesus’ final supper with his friends; and declaring God’s presence at the dinner tables around which we will gather for our Easter meals. From “Jesus Christ is risen today” to “He is risen, he is risen!” the music will be familiar and spirit-lifting, including an Offertory anthem remarkable in both beauty and technology! So tell your cousins out in Peoria and your college roommate down in Baltimore, your mama back home on the North Shore and your kids hunkered down in Nashville: join Trinity Church for an Easter celebration, “rich with praise, and worthy of God’s kingdom!”
Easter Evening: 11 a.m. Emmaus Podcast available; 7 p.m. Live Emmaus Discussion
Now on that same day, two of the disciples were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him (Luke 24:13-49).
Honoring our 6 p.m. congregation and the Trinity Church tradition of an “Easter Evening” service, we invite all to download our Emmaus podcast, which will be published late on Sunday morning. Featuring reflections on Luke’s treasured story in music, meditation, and even portrait – an aural experience of Caravaggio’s “Supper at Emmaus” – the podcast invites listeners to join the disciples and take an Easter walk with the resurrected Jesus. To conclude our Easter Day, we will then gather at 7 p.m. for a live discussion of the Emmaus story, Caravaggio’s piece, and our experience of the podcast.
Holy Week Outreach
Gracious God, the comfort of all who sorrow, the strength of all who suffer: Let the cry of those in need come to you, that they may find your mercy present with them in all their afflictions; and give us, we pray, the strength to serve them for the sake of him who suffered for us, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen (From the Good Friday “Solemn Collects”).
Sherrill House, a Trinity Church mission founded by members of our parish more than 100 years ago, cares for the elderly poor who can no longer live on their own. An independent, not-for-profit, state-of-the-art, 196-bed skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility located in Jamaica Plain, many Trinity parishioners continue to serve on its governing board, and Sherrill House’s vital ministry remains grafted into the heart of Trinity Church and her mission to our greater Boston community.
At this very moment, Sherrill House has a critical need for masks, hand-sanitizing solution, disinfectant wipes, and Covid-19 personal protective equipment (PPE). While its Board and professional leadership continue to do everything possible to purchase these resources, available supplies are gravely limited. As a work of mercy this Holy Week, I ask you to consider how you could help provide these needed supplies, whether by donating, by making, or by connecting Sherrill House with organizations and individuals who may have a store of these urgently required materials.
If you can help, please email Pattyanne Lyons, Director of Development, at plyons@sherrillhouse.org, or email the Director of the Rector’s Office, Alison Poor, at apoor@trinitychurchboston.org. Alison will partner with Board Chair, the Rev. Tom Kennedy, who will coordinate with Sherrill House our offers of support.
Travelling together through this strange season of our common life, we recognize our need of God and of one another, and, refusing to be defined by any moment’s despair, we Trinitarians choose instead to define ourselves by God’s hopes. Therefore, as Holy Week pilgrims, we trust that this passage–length unknown, destination unclear – leads us to Resurrection, out of death, into Life.
Almighty God, as we begin this Holy Week we pray that you would renew in us the gifts of your mercy; that you would strengthen in us the professions of our faith; that you would widen in us the horizons of our hope; that you would enlighten in us the depths of our understanding; that you would increase in us the reach of our charity; and that you would bind in love all of us as your Trinity Church, in the city of Boston and for the sake of the world. All this we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Take care and be well,
The Rev. Morgan S. Allen