The life and mission of Jesus meet their fullest test. Jesus stares directly into the face of the structures of sin and the powers of death and remains true to his calling and the work of God’s kingdom. These eight days include more worship services for the whole congregation than any other time of the Christian year.
Hope, community, betrayal, trial, execution, death, burial, watching at the grave, and the disturbing or even terrifying surprise of resurrection and an empty tomb meet us through this week. And in gathering to observe them all, we open ourselves to the many ways the Holy Spirit has been active, is active, and will be active in the church and world throughout history, in our own lives, and in the lives of those who follow us in seeking to live the way of Jesus in generations to come.As United Methodists who follow in the footsteps of the Wesleys, we know the power of such ritual in gathered community through this week will take deeper root in our own lives if we also practice the means of grace of family and private prayer. That is why our series of resources for Holy Week also includes guidance for ways to observe family or private prayer using the lectionary readings for each day, Monday through Wednesday.
And throughout this Holy Week, we are following up specifically on our Lenten theme of Rehab in a particular way. Rehab in nearly every form is about helping us get in touch with our bodies either more deeply or to restore our touch with our bodies after a crisis has severed or seriously impaired the connection. As Christians baptized into the apostolic faith, we affirm “resurrection of flesh,” to translate the Greek of the Apostles Creed most directly. This is a radically incarnational affirmation of the goodness of creation and the ways our bodies are mediators of divine grace and truth to ourselves and others, just as the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We await the fulness of what resurrection of flesh means and will mean for us all, but we have all experienced a taste of it already through the Lenten journey of spiritual Rehab we have walked together. And we will experience it even more as we continue that journey through the week now before us.
If we will take it, and take it seriously, and take the journey together with the body of Christ, Christ leading the way for us.
Our Rehab so far brings us to this very point. We have gotten back in touch with our bodies, with the goodness and truth, as well as the distortions and self-deceptions, they and we are capable of. We are prepped now to walk through the most painful part of this journey with Jesus and each other, his final days of challenge, suffering, torture, pain, agony, loss, and death. When we consider what is coming, we can choose to stay in touch with all we are experiencing, individually and together, or to disconnect, shut down our feelings. Rehab has been teaching us to stay connected, to experience it all, to take it all in, be moved by it, and trust ourselves to God’s grace and each other through it.
And to do so confident that love leads the way… even through this.
The following services will be offered at our church, unless otherwise indicated:
We encourage you to join with ecumenical Stations of the Cross service sponsored by the Walpole Ministerial Society. We will start at Epiphany Church (62 Front Street) and walk with the cross through stations along Walpole Common ending at United Church (30 Common Street) and an optional walk thorough their labyrinth.
7:00 p.m. Good Friday Service at United Church
Pain, grief, anger, lament – no feeling is too strong or unpleasant for Jesus. Come as you are and know that God is with you, for you, and working in you, even in your darkest night.
Think of this Service of the Light as akin to Christmas Eve. We will begin in darkness by a bonfire, light the paschal candle and follow the light of Christ to our sanctuary to celebrate the miracle of new life in Christ. This special service will be packed with special music.
Sponsored by Union Congregational Church, 55 Rhodes Ave
This service will take place outside at Bird Park followed by breakfast. All are welcome.
Family friendly service of resurrection and new life in Jesus Christ.