Holy Week is the final week of the season of Lent that commemorates the culmination of Jesus’ earthly ministry in his first coming. By the fourth century, it had become the high point of the entire annual liturgical calendar of Christian festivals and seasons with the greatest concentration of special services during the entire year. Such services recounted the spiritual meaning and implications of such events as Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Palm/Passion Sunday), his establishing the Lord’s Supper at a Passover meal with his disciples (Maundy Thursday), his death on the cross (Good Friday), and his resurrection from the dead (Easter Vigil on Saturday night, and Easter Sunday, which initiate the season of Easter).
2016 Holy Week services at Central Presbyterian Church
For more resources on the history of Holy Week as well as devotional materials for worship, see the Holy Week page under the Liturgical Calendar tab at the top of the page.
‘Tis the season when St. Louis is filled with annual celebrations related to the season of Lent: Ash Wednesday, Lenten lunches, fish frys, and Holy Week. Where did this season come from? Can we observe it in a way that is spiritually helpful? At Central, we observe the season of Lent corporately in worship services on Sundays and in Holy Week, so we will benefit most if we understand why we do so and what it can and should mean in our lives.
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In the liturgy, the church often confesses the sins of the whole body of Christ and not merely our own individual, personal sins. But this seems odd to many people raised in the highly individualistic culture of the United States. If you have ever wondered whether or not it is right for you to confess the sins of other Christians, see this excellent essay by pastor Ed Eubanks for a thoroughly biblical answer: The Confession of Corporate Sins: Collective Ownership of Others’ Sins.
Peter Leithart asks, “Should a Christian view of time be stamped with Christ?” Read his excellent article “Happy New Year” to find out why the answer is an emphatic “yes!” and how the church has historically done this.
The seasons of the church calendar are designed to help us remember and live faithfully according to the story of Jesus’ life and his work for our salvation in fulfillment of God’s mission for the people of Israel and his plan for the whole world. In other words, the church calendar helps us order our worship and life together as a church around the whole story of the good news (gospel) of Jesus.
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What is the connection between corporate worship on Sundays and daily life on Monday through Saturday? Scott Aniol, a professor of worship at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, offers reflections on the way the liturgy of Sunday forms us (or ought to form us) to be faithful followers of Jesus in every aspect of our lives. See his paper “Practice Makes Perfect: How Corporate Worship Forms Disciples.”
Here is an excellent article on John Calvin’s theology of the presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper and its history in the Reformed churches.
Read this moving summary of almost everything you need to know and love about the Holy Spirit of God in less than 800 words. And may the Spirit of the Lord be with you.
May 17 is the day that we will celebrate Jesus’ ascension to heaven as the culmination of the Easter season. In the worship of many modern Christian churches, Jesus’ ascension to heaven is a neglected and forgotten reality. However, it has not always been so. As the annual liturgical calendar developed in the fourth century, churches began to devote a special day to commemorate Jesus’ ascension within the Easter season prior to Pentecost. Not only the calendar but also the early Christian creeds signified the ascension’s prominent place in early Christian thought and life. Both the baptismal creed that later developed into the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed formulated in the first two ecumenical councils at Nicea (325 A.D.) and Constantinople (381 A.D.) list Jesus’ ascension among the most fundamental articles of the Christian gospel. Continue reading →
During the month of May, the sermon series will highlight the various spiritual benefits that we receive from Jesus because he is risen from the dead. At the 11:15 service, we will sing a new song, “Beautiful Savior,” to celebrate the many victories Jesus won for us in his resurrection. If we are united to the risen Jesus by faith, then we can sing of “sins forgiven, of conscience cleansed and of death defeated and life without end.” Jesus’ resurrection shows that he is the “Lord of history” and “heaven’s champion” who “reigns over all,” and it will be our greatest joy to celebrate his victory eternally with the whole company of heaven where “the glory never fades” and “cries of ‘worthy’ will honor the Lamb” forever. Continue reading →