Easter is the number one celebration for followers of Jesus. In terms of importance it ranks higher than Christmas – a fact that is lost on most of our children, and, let’s face it, many of us adults too. We just like the cradle more than the cross. In a similar way, we typically skip over the discomfort and pain of Good Friday preferring to jump straight to Easter Sunday – joyfully imbibing all the excitement and energy of the resurrection. We are right to be excited and energized by Jesus’ resurrection (and our eventual resurrection too, by the way!). However, in our excitement for Sunday, we miss the gifts offered in Good Friday and Holy Saturday. If we resist the urge to short-circuit and if we linger in the way of the cross on Good Friday, and the nothingness of Holy Saturday, our celebration on Sunday will take on a whole other quality. It will be enriched in a beautiful way. Light is most brilliant when juxtaposed with darkness.
Good Friday: Into the Shadows
Walk of the Cross, 6pm – 7pm
To that end, we want to invite you to participate in our Good Friday: Into the Shadows experiences. We will have a Walk of the Cross like we haven’t done before. We will journey with Jesus as we consider his final supper in Jerusalem, the agony of the knowledge of what was to come in Gethsemane, his betrayal on the Mount of Olives and his Trial in Jerusalem. As we walk with the physical cross we will stop at various points throughout the neighbourhood to consider our own crosses – find our own ways to connect with Jesus on this guided journey. Wear appropriate attire and walking shoes.
Up “The Hill of the Skull”: A Good Friday service, 7pm – 8pm
Then we’ll come back to the church for our Good Friday Service (first one ever) and consider and experience his journey to what they called Golgotha, the “place of the skull”, where he was crucified. We will also be with him as they laid his body in the tomb. This service will employ all the senses. It will be a visceral experience. We encourage everyone to participate in both the Walk of the Cross and this service, however if you can’t make it on the walk, you’re still welcome to join this Good Friday service. Children are welcome (we will talk about death and the crucification and will nail our own stuff to the cross, literally, but it won’t be gratuitous).
Fasting: Friday – Sunday
Our Fasting will begin on Friday continue through Saturday – a day of apparent nothingness, and be broken on Sunday. The seed placed in the ground. Waiting. Our fasting echoes this “giving up” that Jesus did. You can fast for the whole weekend, or part of it. You can choose to fast from food, or anything else you feel God may be inviting you to give up. Ask him. This small sacrifice isn’t to earn favour, nor is it some attempt to somehow twist God’s arm into getting something you want. Rather, it’s a physical act of solidarity with Jesus. It’s a discipline and it’s a pain. Every time your stomach reminds you that you’re hungry (or every time you go to check your phone – if you’re fasting from social media), etc, you can recall what Jesus did and is doing and you can offer a prayer of solidarity to Jesus. When we break the fast on Sunday morning, we are rising with him – emerging from darkness to the glorious light of his resurrection – feasting on the new life he has for us and the whole world!
Resurrection Celebration: Sunday, 10am
Of course, this brings us to Easter Sunday. We will party, worship and celebrate his accomplishment all morning – all of us (Downstairs & Upstairs, children and youth all together). Emerging from the shadows of the weekend, and blinking from the dazzling, blinding light of the resurrection, we will celebrate the first glimmers of the new creation – and we’ll invite more (and he’ll show up)!
Good Friday: Into the Shadows (April 14)
- 6pm, Walk of the Cross (NOTE THE DIFFERENT TIME FROM PREVIOUS YEARS)
- 7pm, Up “The Hill of the Skull”: a Good Friday Service
- Fasting Begins
Sunday: Darkness to Light (April 16)
- 10am, Resurrection Celebration
- Fasting Ends