Family-friendly | Nursery provided
8:10am | Liturgy of the Palms and Procession through the neighborhood and through the doors of the Church. Bring your kids in their strollers or backpacks - we love to sing and shout Hosanna to the Son of David! on the sidewalks of Bangor as we wave palm branches.
8:30am | Sunday Celebration of Word and Sacrament
On Palm Sunday, we celebrate the entrance of Jesus as King into the city of Jerusalem on a donkey colt (a symbolic animal of peace). Like a great emperor returning victoriously from war, he was greeted by the crowds with shouts of triumph and joy and waving palm branches, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Luke 19:38). Jesus’ triumphal entry declares to everyone that he is King and Lord and that he will be victorious in his mission to defeat sin and death once and for all.
WHAT YOU SEE AND HEAR
Waving Palm Branches: In Matthew 21, it says that crowds waved and placed branches at Jesus’ feet as he made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Palm branches are an ancient symbol of goodness, victory, and triumph.
A Processional: We march through part of our neighborhood both to participate in Jesus’ own entry into Jerusalem as a victorious king and to announce the beginning of Holy Week.
The Passion Reading: This passage from the Gospel is read dramatically by a number of people in order to orient the congregation to the story of Holy Week. The congregation participates in this reading by acting as those who just minutes ago were welcoming and praising Jesus but have now turned against him, calling for his death. We see ourselves in the crowd and realize our own sin of rejecting Jesus so often. In the grittiness and length of the Passion reading, we realize the depth of suffering Jesus endured for us.
Incense: Burned as a tangible reminder of God’s presence with us in the Old Testament, incense is traditionally used on holy days and represents our prayers rising to God in heaven. (Psalm 141:2; Revelation 7)
Liturgical Color Change from Purple to Red: This shift is meant to capture the dramatic arc of the service. Purple, a royal color, is under for the processional as we usher in King Jesus. Then, after the Passion reading, purple is changed to passion red, which is the liturgical color for Palm Sunday and a symbol of Jesus’ death and crucifixion. The changing colors capture the dramatic juxtaposition that takes place, as the same crowd of people goes from praising Jesus to calling for his murder – a stark picture of our own vacillations.
The Prayers of Palm Sunday focus on Jesus’ suffering. We are called to imitate Jesus in his humility and to walk with him through his suffering and death. We do this so that we might also share in his resurrection and victory – a victory that we have had a glimpse of in this service. This invitation is not to be taken lightly. If, by faith, we embrace the call to share in Jesus’ suffering and allow the Lord to meet us, we will be changed. Whether this is your first of fiftieth journey through Holy Week, the Lord Jesus is calling you to walk this difficult and holy road with him.
Vespers Prayer & Reflection
7p Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday
Contemplative atmosphere, no nursery provided – we encourage parents to rotate who will come on which night. Older children are welcome.
Since the earliest days, Christians have engaged in set times of prayer throughout the day. “Vespers” is the Latin word for “evening,” or “evening star,” and so evening prayers took on the name “Vespers” among other names. This is a time of settling, of being, of abiding, of allowing the Holy Spirit to examine our own souls as we engage moments of prayer, scripture reading, singing, and quietness. It will be a Service of Light and Evening Prayer from the Book of Common Prayer, with a contemplative presentation made by a lay leader each night. This is the perfect way to fix our gaze for Holy Week.
Family-engaging, nursery provided,
7p Thursday Evening 4/18
On Maundy Thursday, we gather for Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples prior to his arrest by the Jewish leaders. On this night, the apostle John recorded that Jesus washed his disciples’ feet and gave his disciples the model for the Eucharist and a “new command” (mandate/maundy) to love each other as Jesus loved them (John 13:34). This service is intensely embodied—we are invited to see, hear, and feel Jesus with us. In the midst of a worship service it feels both bizarre and startlingly vulnerable to strip off our shoes and socks and place our feet in a basin of water. The foot washing portion of the service forces us to be exposed and vulnerable. It is in that place that we can receive healing and the fullness of the Lord Jesus’ love for us.
WHAT YOU SEE AND HEAR
Washing Each Other’s Feet: Jesus shows the full extent of his love by taking on the position of the lowest slave in the act of foot washing, so we wash each other’s feet (optional) to reenact the same servanthood that Jesus took on for his disciples. Normally, disciples would have been the ones serving their master, but Jesus’ behavior is different in order to show his disciples how his Kingdom has turned social norms upside down. And, he is preparing them for the greatest dinner of all…
The Eucharist: The meal we share as the family of God in remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. That night Jesus and the disciples shared the Passover meal as the first family of the new Kingdom of God; this meal remembers the most important event in Jewish history, the Exodus from Egypt. Many Jews of the first century were waiting for a Messiah who would lead a military and political takeover of Israel and reclaim it from Rome; they envisioned a second exodus. Bread and wine play a significant role in the Passover meal, and during the Passover meal, unleavened bread (the bread of affliction) and wine (the cups of salvation) are consumed. Jesus connected for his disciples the hope for a second Exodus to the deliverance they would yet experience through his broken body and shed blood.
The Stripping of the Altar: We strip the altar of all worship elements and wash it with water. The symbols of Christ’s presence in Communion are removed as a reminder of how Christ was stripped and exposed by the soldiers before his crucifixion and also how his body was washed and prepared for burial by the women.
The Shrouding of the Cross: We fast with our eyes through these visual cues of the somber pilgrimage into the last hours of Jesus’ life and his crucifixion.
Reserved Elements: The priest blesses extra Communion bread on Maundy Thursday, which is meant to be consumed during Communion on Good Friday. Maundy Thursday through Easter Sunday is technically one long service, known as the “Triduum,” (The Three Days) with no formal processionals or recessionals.
Contemplative atmosphere, nursery provided,
9a - 6p Self-guided Stations of the Cross
6p - 6:45p Catechist-led Stations of the Cross for atrium-age children (4 to 12)
7p Service with Veneration of the Cross
In the pilgrimage of Holy Week, Good Friday brings us to a somber and contemplative halt. From the moment the silent procession enters the sanctuary until we all leave in silence, we are invited into a focused contemplation of Jesus’ death on the cross. Each scripture reading, prayer, and song points us to one man’s experience on an ancient instrument of torture. Why? Because we believe that the moment Jesus died on the cross was the moment the entire world was rescued from sin and death. That is why we spend so much time savoring the reality of the cross. On Good Friday, we celebrate both the specific instant in history when Jesus redeemed us and the reality that his healing power can meet us in our sinfulness today. We invite the Holy Spirit to give us the grace to acknowledge our personal sinfulness and then to immediately find forgiveness and empowerment available at the cross. It is a stunningly personal opportunity to ask the Lord to highlight the sins and the shame keeping us from drawing close to him and then to set those sins down on the wood of the cross.
WHAT YOU SEE & HEAR
Silent Procession: The clergy enters the room in silence to highlight Good Friday as the continuation of the long service that begins on Maundy Thursday and ends with the Great Vigil of Easter.
Procession of the Cross: The congregation is invited into the immediacy of the wood of the cross as it is carried through the sanctuary.
Readings & Prayers: Isaiah’s Suffering Servant poem (Isa. 52:13–53:12) and the sermon to the Hebrews in which the author explains Jesus’ role as our great High Priest and Mediator (Heb. 10:1-25). Then we hear the Passion (John 18:1–19:37). This service also includes the praying of the Solemn Collects in which we intercede for the church, our nation, and the world.
Reserved Sacrament: Good Friday is not a Eucharist service because we are remembering that Christ’s body was in the grave, and we are waiting for his resurrected body to bring us new life.
Veneration of the Cross: This tradition dates back to the fourth century, when Christians venerated the wood of Jesus’ actual cross. At Imago, we believe that this practice takes us out of time and, by the Holy Spirit, into the event of Christ’s crucifixion. It is not a reenactment, but instead a sacred moment when we are given the gift of repentance as we physically touch the cross and are moved by Jesus’ healing presence on the cross.
Family-Friendly, nursery provided
7:30p Saturday Evening
The Great Vigil of Easter is the crowning jewel of Holy Week marking the first part of the celebration of Easter. This service highlights our deep desire to meet the Lord through Word and Sacrament by the power of the Holy Spirit as well as our desire to use the arts in order to make abstract theological concepts concrete and accessible. It is a “sacramental” moment when the invisible realities are made visible and we receive grace by faith through various mediums.
In this pilgrimage from darkness to light, hour by hour we walk with the Lord from death to life, until the glorious moment when a Spirit-filled impartation of joy is released and we celebrate that the resurrection is, indeed, real. As we keep vigil through the night with Jesus, we join with believers who, for millennia, have understood the incredible significance of this evening and have given up sleep, despite being near the end of a long pilgrimage, in order to worship and pray. This is how we find ourselves dancing and singing at sunrise on Easter Sunday, sleepless as we may be. The joy of the Gospel overtakes us and we celebrate with childlike freedom the hope that we have as children of the living God.
WHAT YOU SEE & HEAR
Service of Lessons: Old Testament readings are presented dramatically at our Easter Festival in order to bring a sensory immediacy to the sacramental reality of the texts.
Service Begins in Darkness: The Great Vigil of Easter begins in darkness because this service moves us from the darkness of Jesus’ death on Good Friday to the light of life found in Jesus’ resurrection at sunrise on Easter morning.
Pounding on Door: Fr. Justin pounds on the doors of the sanctuary as a reminder that Christ broke down the doors of Hell when he defeated death.
“The Light of Christ”: The early church would strike a light on Jesus’ tomb and carry the flame with them throughout their celebration of his resurrection. Today, we light a Paschal candle every year as a reminder of the pillar of fire that led the Israelites to safety in Exodus 13. The Exsultet: Also known as the “Easter Proclamation,” this poetic hymn is sung by a cantor and brings the salvation narrative of Holy Week into focus around the Light of Christ. Congregational Candles: The light from the Paschal candle is spread to the whole congregation as a symbol of the intensely personal nature of Christ’s presence with each of us. The Holy Noise: The conclusion of the Great Vigil of Easter takes place when the celebrant declares that Christ is risen. Imago has taken the ancient custom of ringing bells in celebration to new heights through the “Holy Noise,” when the entire congregation makes a “joyful noise unto the Lord.”
Baptisms: Baptism as the passage from death to life is powerfully reinforced by the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection.
Asperges: We rejoice in our own baptisms as the clergy sprinkle the waters of baptism on the congregation.
The Easter Acclamation: To mark the end of the Lent and as the climax of our Holy Week pilgrimage, Fr. Justin proclaims, “Alleluia! Christ is Risen!”