Holy Week Worship: Just as Jesus Loved Us, So We Should Love Each Other

I pray you’re having a meaningful Holy Week in the midst of this vastly strange and different time in which we’re living.  We will have Good Friday worship tomorrow evening at 7:00pm via Zoom.  Then we’ll celebrate the resurrection on Easter Sunday at 11:00am.  For more details about both services, scroll down through this email.

But first … I’d like to take a moment to remember the importance of this day.  Today is known as Maundy Thursday in the Christian church.  Maundy Thursday marks the last conversation Jesus has with his disciples, a conversation grounded in what he calls a new commandment or mandate (mandatum in Latin, hence our English word “Maundy”).  It was by the blood of a sacrificial lamb that the Hebrews were saved in Egypt, as God passed over their homes.  And it was at his final Passover feast that Jesus ate his last meal on earth, showing himself to be the sacrificial Lamb of God, by whose blood the entire world is saved. This was a Passover feast unlike any other.  Jesus changed its imagery forever by asking his disciples to eat his body, with the breaking of the bread, and to drink his blood with the sharing of the cup.  And so, this meal became for us the Lord’s Supper, commemorated as the sacrament of Holy Communion.  As doubtful and confused as the disciples must have been, Jesus left no doubt about his love for them, as he washed their feet—even the feet of Judas Iscariot, his betrayer.  Sacrifice and love, then, are the foremost themes of Holy Thursday: “Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another” (John 13:34b).

The stained glass window in the southeast corner of our sanctuary depicts events from the night before Jesus was crucified.  The emblem on the left of the grape, wheat, and chalice with the wafer represent the institution of the Lord’s Supper.  The emblem on the right of a lantern is a symbol of Christ’s betrayal and arrest while he was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. It was after the Last Supper, in the darkness, that the soldiers came with torches to the Garden and arrested Jesus.

“So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons.”

— John 18:3

This window was a gift to the church by Mr. and Mrs. E.C. Thuston.  All the stained glass windows in the sanctuary of Avondale United Methodist Church were painted by Joseph Llorens of Atlanta, Georgia, and were installed by Robert W. Furman of Birmingham, Alabama, in 1940-1945.

We can’t celebrate the joy of Easter without first going to the cross.  During this time of worship, we’ll journey with Jesus to the cross, remembering the final painful moments of his crucifixion.  Join us via Zoom for this quiet, contemplative service.  Our Zoom link to join is: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/419841035.

Join us in worship Sunday morning at 11:00am as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Join us via Zoom for this Easter celebration.  The link to join is: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/610630382.

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