Easter 2024

25.03. 2024 | News, Prayer

 

Join us in Jerusalem on Sunday. When we celebrate Easter, it’s not abstract. During the silent week, we follow Jesus around Jerusalem in a very concrete way. We recreate Jerusalem in our worship services. On Palm Sunday, we gather outside the church, where we are on the Mount of Olives and together with Jesus we enter the city, the church, while he is hailed as the Son of David, that is, as the Messiah, and we stand with our green branches and join in honouring him by shouting: “Hosanna, Son of David”; but inside Jerusalem, during the Passion, we also cry out: “Crucify him!”. We are allowed to be part of both groups, so we can think about where we belong.

On Maundy Thursday, we are in the Upper Room, which is festively decorated for the Passover meal that Jesus will celebrate with his disciples, and where he himself takes on the role of the Passover lamb, whose blood was smeared on the doorposts in Egypt when the Israelites were freed from death, so that we too are freed from the power of death through his blood in the resurrection. This is what becomes present every time we celebrate the Eucharist, the Mass. When he washes the feet of the disciples, he shows us that if we want to be like him, we must also bow down and serve others. After we have received his body and blood, we follow him in procession with the sacrament to the tabernacle to pray there, just as the disciples followed him to the Garden of Gethsemane to watch with him.

On Good Friday, the church is completely bare and devoid of decorations. We are on the steps in front of Pilate’s castle and follow Jesus to Golgotha and the tomb in which he is laid. Along the way, we pay homage to the cross, but on this day there is no sign of the cross. Neither at the beginning of the liturgy nor at the blessing at the end. Normally we only kneel before the sacrament, the Body and Blood of Christ, but today we kneel before the cross.

On Easter Saturday, we begin in the darkness of the grave and death. No candles are lit in the church. Outside, we begin all over again by lighting a new fire, and after decorating the candle with the cross and nails – suffering and death – we crown it with the light of the resurrection, and from there, with our hearts, we all share in the light of resurrection and life, and enter the dark church and overcome the darkness of the grave and death.

Inside the church we hear the great Easter hymn, and after that we start all over again with God’s story with us in creation. We go with Abraham and Isaac up the mountain to sacrifice the boy to God and follow the Jews out of Egypt and through the Red Sea on their way to the Promised Land. Afterwards, we hear the prophets’ exhortations to the people before we sing the Gloria with jingling bells and hear the proclamation of the resurrection. For the first time since before Lent, we sing the Alleluia, three times in an increasingly high pitch, emphasising the jubilation that death will not have the last word. We renew our baptismal vows, because in baptism we have died with Christ to rise with him to a brand new life. And finally, we send out a double alleluia to proclaim the joy of the resurrection to the world.

Happy Easter!

Niels Engelbrecht

 

Click on the link:  Gudstænastur á páskum – Easter Services (pdf)

 

 

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