Pastor David Nehrenz
Dear Fellow Redeemed,
Note: All these services are ONLINE. We pray that we can re-open as of Wed. April 15, after the City of Norman closure ends on Tues.April 14. We will keep you posted.
WHAT IS “THE TRIDUUM” WHICH BEGINS ON MAUNDY THURSDAY?
The most solemn and joyful celebration of the Christian calendar is the period from Maundy Thursday through Holy Saturday. Worship services on these days or evenings are traditionally considered to be parts of a single extended liturgical event called The Triduum (Latin for “Three Days”).
The first part of the Triduum begins on the evening of Maundy Thursday (also called Holy Thursday), during which Christians recall the events that took place the night Jesus was betrayed. The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke concentrate on the institution of the Lord’s Supper. The gospel of John focuses instead on the Lord’s final teachings to His disciples, dramatically punctuated by His washing of their feet.
The word “Maundy” is derived from the Latin phrase mandatum novum, meaning “new commandment.” It refers to the Lord’s words to His apostles as recorded in John 13:34: A new command I give you: love one another. The true climax of Maundy Thursday worship is the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. This night is the “anniversary” of the sacrament and therefore memorable.
After the sacrament has ended, the stripping of the altar takes place. This ancient ritual is a powerful and dramatic reenactment of the Lord’s humiliation at the hands of the Roman soldiers. The altar, left bare and is transformed from the communion table of Maundy Thursday into the tomb stone slab of Good Friday.
WHAT ARE THE LITANY, THE CHIEF SERVICE AND THE TENEBRAE SERVICE ON GOOD FRIDAY?
The Litany and Readings recall that Jesus was crucified at 9:00 a.m. and the sky went dark at 12:00 noon. The Chief Service in the afternoon recalls that at 3:00 p.m. is the time of day when Christ died. The cross is carrieddown the aisle and the laments for Christ are sung. The readings are from the Gospel of John and the featured hymn is “O Sacred Head Now Wounded.” It gives quiet times for meditation and reflection on our Lord Jesus.
The Tenebrae service is patterned after the ancient office of Tenebrae. The Latin word “Tenebrae” means darkness. A total of eight candles are used in this service. Seven of these candles represent the seven last sentences which our Savior spoke from the Cross, and the eighth candle is the Christ Candle, which processes and recesses into the sanctuary.
The exit of the Christ Candle, at the close of the service, signifies Christ’s death and burial. When the book is lifted a few inches from the altar and slammed back down to create a definite closing sound, it symbolizes the stone that was rolled over the entrance to the tomb.
WHAT ARE THE EASTER SATURDAY GREAT VIGIL AND EASTER SUNDAY SERVICES?
The Saturday night Easter Great Vigil begins in darkness in the narthex, processes by candlelight into the sanctuary, has readings from the whole Old Testament, centers on our baptism into Christ and ends with the celebration of the Christ’s resurrection and holy communion. It is one of the most ancient services in Christendom, at which the catechumens were baptized after a year-long period of catechesis.
The Easter Sunday services are the joyful outpourings of our Alleluias as we sing the hymns, hear the lessons and rejoice that “the Lord is risen indeed!” The women came to the tomb early in the morning, right before the sunrise, and spoke to the angels in the tomb. The reality of Jesus being raised on the third day was exactly as he said it would happen. Our salvation and justification by grace has been guaranteed and secured!
The 50 Days then begin from Easter Sunday to Ascension Day to Pentecost Sunday. Jesus gave convincing proofs over 40 days that he was risen from the dead and he promised the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Honor our Lord Jesus Christ by making you participation online the highest priority of your life!
Pastor David Nehrenz
Vicar Rob Schrader
It is a wonderful thing that Easter occurs during the springtime. This time of year, we encounter countless ‘mini-Easters’ – little resurrections taking place right before our eyes. Brown, dry grass is resurrected in beautiful, green form. Gray, lifeless looking trees bud with thousands of colorful blossoms and green leaves. Recently, right in my backyard, I was treated to a pleasant surprise! What I thought was dead grass suddenly sprouted lush, brilliant yellow flowers! Indeed, the springtime is full of ‘mini-Easters’ – what appears cold and dead is transformed and shown to be very much alive.
Of course, all of this returning life reminds us of Jesus’ resurrection – his body lay cold and dead in the tomb, but early Easter morning it was shown to be very much alive! Consequently, Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15 that because Christ was raised from the dead, we also are assured a resurrection: “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” Interestingly, Paul even compares our resurrection to the flora that we see very much alive each spring. He explains, “What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.” The seed that goes into the ground does not appear to be much – cold, gray, seemingly lifeless. That seed is planted in the ground and it ceases to exist in its present form, “it dies” as Paul says, but in its death is a great resurrection! That insignificant seed becomes so much bigger & better, so much more full of life, so much more beautiful than before! Paul tells us: “So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.” It’s us Christians who Paul is referring to!
This spring, take notice of all of the ‘mini-Easters’ occurring around you. Remember that Christ is “the firstfruits of them that have fallen asleep.” Remember that, because he rose from the dead, all believers in his resurrection will also be raised from the dead. And remember what sort of body we will be given – imperishable, glorious, powerful, and spiritual! Just as the death of a seed is not a morbid occasion because what follows is much better, neither is the death of the Christian! Because of what Jesus did for us, we too will have a resurrection – look forward to that glorious day!
Vicar Rob Schrader