Is God real? How can anyone really know God?
What does God want from us?
Our clearest understanding of God comes from understanding Jesus. The Gospel of John gives us a unique and penetrating insight into the heart of Jesus and through the heart of Jesus into the heart of God. TPC will spend the 6 Sundays of Lent, between Ash Wednesday and Easter, exploring the Gospel of John which contains some of the Bible’s most familiar and beloved verses: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son so that whoever believed in him would not perish but have everlasting life.” “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” Join us Sunday mornings at 8:30 am or 11:00am or livestream the service anytime as we see Jesus through John’s eyes and, by meeting Jesus, meet God face to face.
Holy Week begins with welcome of Jesus into Jerusalem as the expected messiah on Palm Sunday and culminates the next Sunday, Easter, in the celebration of his resurrection. But if we jump directly from Palm Sunday to Easter we are likely to forget the struggle and suffering of the crucifixion and the depth of Jesus’ sacrifice.
Palm Sunday (8:30 am and 11 am)
Palm Sunday portrays Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The people saw him as the long awaited Messiah who would restore Israel to greatness. They greeted him joyfully, shouting “Hosanna!” and waving palm branches.
At our Palm Sunday service, the children enthusiastically reenact this event. They greet Jesus, just as the people of Jerusalem did, waving palm fronds and calling out “Hosanna!” as he enters. This tradition is a beloved beginning to Holy Week.
Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday at 7 pm)
Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus and his disciples. It is during this meal that Jesus initiates the celebration of the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper, washes the feet of his disciples in a moving moment of humble service, and instructs his disciples: “A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another; as I have loved you” (John 13:34). In Latin the word commandment is mandatum, and many scholars think this Latin term is the source of the odd word Maundy.
At Trinity Presbyterian Church, we reflect on the Last Supper and on Jesus’ coming death in a Communion/Tenebrae service, or Service of Darkness. One by one the candles in the church are extinguished and the lights in the church dim as we remember Jesus’ time praying alone in the garden of Gethsemane, his trial and his suffering, until, with his crucifixion, darkness comes completely and we leave the church silently, struck by a new understanding of the disciples’ grief and loss of hope.
Easter (8:30 am, 9:45 am, 11 am)
The most exciting, joyful day in the Christian year, on Easter we celebrate the Jesus’ return to life. Easter brings the promise of eternal life for us too. Because of Jesus’s resurrection, we can trust that, although death is still an enemy, it is never the ultimate victor!
The Flowering of the Cross is one of the most meaningful parts of Trinity’s Easter celebration and takes place in the Celebration Garden. Everyone, especially the children, is invited to bring a flower and help transform the bare wooden cross of Christ’s death into a beautiful expression of new life as God’s children. Then we continue to the Great Hall for the Easter Service as we proclaim in song, “He is risen! He is risen indeed!”
Easter is more than a day. Our worship services follow Jesus through a week that began in triumph then seemed to end in tragedy and suffering. But the obvious human experience of tragedy and death was not the end. Instead the week ended in unexpected joy and triumph. Jesus is not dead forever. He lived again and He continues to live, love, guide and encourage us today. Easter isn’t a day. Easter isn’t even a week. Easter is the beginning of a new way of life, a life of hope and love and the companionship of God.
Author: Phyllis Tippit