Join us online for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Easter worship. Also join us every day this week as we do personal and family devotionals: Day by Day: Walk with Jesus through Holy Week.
Why is this week so special? Without the events of this week, there would be no Christian faith. Before we can learn the power of God through the Resurrection, we need to learn about God’s faithful love through Jesus’ obedient death. There were more than 30 Messiah figures who lived and died, often crucified, before and after Jesus, but only Jesus went willingly to death for our sake and only Jesus came back to proclaim victory over death.
This year we can’t celebrate together in person, but perhaps we can find time to think more deeply about the meaning of Holy Week and share with our families or friends the significance of Jesus’ last words and actions.
On the first day of the week, Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey fulfilling an ancient prophecy (Zechariah 9:9). Throngs of people welcome him with the words of Psalm 118:25-26, heralding him as the Messiah, the coming King of Israel.
Worship: Online at 11:00 am here.
Read aloud (even if you are alone): Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:1-11
Watch: A video together about Palm Sunday.
Children: Wonder and discuss together, how would it feel/sound to be in the crowd on Palm Sunday in Jerusalem?
Adults: The people are celebrating because they think Jesus is the Messiah they’ve wanted, a new king who will take over leadership of the country and defeat the Romans. How will they feel when they discover that is not Jesus’ plan? What kind of Messiah does Jesus intend to be?
Close by watching the prayer for Palm Sunday: Watch Video
Day by Day: Walk with Jesus through Holy Week
Walk with Jesus through Holy Week
Each day we share a biblical passage or video, questions for discussion or personal reflection, and a children’s activity that can help bring this week to life. Take the time to read out loud the listed Bible passages that so dramatically chronicle Jesus’ final days. Ask yourself the questions or discuss them with friends.
Choose a time, perhaps right after dinner, and be faithful to it. Setting a regular time gives your day more structure and helps you think of this time with God as a commitment. Then follow the instructions listed under each day.
Jesus visits the Temple and finds it full of traders and moneychangers. He angrily drives them out because they have changed a “house of prayer” into a “den of robbers”.
Read: Matthew 21:12-17; Mark 11:15-18; Luke 19:45-48; John 12:1-11
Children: Wonder and discuss together, why is Jesus mad at the people selling and trading? What would you think if your church was suddenly full of people selling you things and you had to buy something before you could go into worship?
Adults: Jews from other countries had to change foreign money for temple coins. The original intent was to be helpful. What might have gone wrong? Do we ever put unnecessary barriers in front of people who want to come to church?
Activity: Find the differences in this picture.
Close by watching the prayer for Monday: Watch video
TUESDAY (Also known as Busy Tuesday)
Jesus teaches in the Temple, where the Pharisees hotly dispute his authority. Later, he leads the disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane and delivers what has become known as the Olivet Discourse, the last of five great discourses recorded in Matthew’s gospel. Judas conspires to betray Jesus.
Read: Matthew 21:23-25; Mark 11:27-13;37; Luke 20:1-21;36: John 12:37-50
Children: Wonder and discuss together, how does it feel when the people you want to like and spend time with just argue with you all the time? How does it feel when they don’t believe anything you say? How do you think Jesus felt when he saw the poor widow giving money to God?
Adults: Jesus is in a round of arguments with the Jewish authorities. They’re trying to trap him into statements that they could take to the Romans to accuse him. Why are the authorities so hostile to Jesus? What are they afraid of? Who is the clear hero of these stories? What are the authorities focused on (power, prestige, control)? What is the poor widow focused on (giving to God)?
Close by watching the prayer for Busy Tuesday: Watch video
QUIET WEDNESDAY (Also known as Spy Wednesday)
Preparation: Find some scented hand or foot cream to use after the devotion time.
The Bible only tells us a little about Wednesday. We suppose it is a rest day for Jesus, although he knows what is coming. It is sometimes known as Spy Wednesday because it is the day that Judas decides to betray Jesus. But we are thinking today of another part of the story. The women are preparing for the Passover. After days of argument, teaching, questions from people, a woman appears who doesn’t want anything from Jesus except to thank him and to treasure him.
Read: Matthew 26:1-5; John 13:21-35; John 12:1-3
Children: Wonder and discuss together, how do you think Jesus felt when the woman poured oil on his feet and rubbed them without asking any favors or any questions?
Sing: Watch and sing as Jennifer Jones hosts a hymn sing-along at 6:00 pm via Facebook Live.
Activity: Take turn rubbing creams into each other’s hands or feet. As you’re rubbing in the cream say thank you for the things those hands and feet have done for you. If you’re alone, rub cream into your own hands and feet. Then rest. Think of the times others have helped you and be grateful. Remember to thank God for hands, for feet, and for people who have loved us.
Close by watching the prayer for Quiet Wednesday: Watch video
Plan to join the Maundy Thursday service online at 7:00 pm as we reflect on the Last Supper and on Jesus’ coming death in a Tenebrae service, or service of darkness.
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 an upper room, Jesus prepares both himself and his disciples for his death. As Paul described it, the Messiah takes on “the very nature of a servant” by washing the disciples’ feet. He uses this supper to give the Passover meal a new meaning. The loaf of bread and cup of wine represent his body, soon to be sacrificed and his blood, soon to be shed. With this he establishes the Lord’s Supper using words we still use today.
Jesus instructs the disciples, “A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another as I have loved you.” In Latin, this is mandatum (root of the word mandate), which, over time, has become Maundy Thursday. Jesus then again leads the disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane and asks them to wait (“to keep watch”) while he prays. In agony as he confronts his impending death, he prays “for the sin of the world” and we glimpse the Son of God at his most human as he begs his father to “take this cup from me”.
Read: Matthew 26:17-30; Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:7-23; John 13, 14, 15 & 16
- Eat a simple meal and imagine what it would be like to be eating with people you would never see again (although the Disciples didn’t know that Jesus was leaving them).
- Watch “The Living Last Supper” recorded last Maundy Thursday by the men of Trinity.
- Wash each other’s hands. How does it feel to have someone else wash your hands? Why is washing hands a particular act of service during a quarantine?
Wonder and discuss together: What are the Disciples thinking?
Close by watching the prayer for Maundy Thursday: Watch video
Why Good Friday? Probably to show that Christ’s death has finally liberated us from sin. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, it is known as “Great Friday”, in Israel “Big Friday” and in Germany “Friday of Lamentation”. Traditionally, this day we celebrate the service of Tenebrae, which means darkness. As Jesus died the hopes of the disciples and the hopes for the world seemed to die with him, plunged into darkness.
Preparation: Gather candles (electric candles are okay, it’s the spirit of the lighting and unlighting that counts). If you have children with you, let them help you collect these supplies. If you don’t have candles, let the children get creative with craft supplies to create some candles from which they can add/remove a pretend flame (i.e. cardboard tubes with tissue paper).
Before reading, light some candles. As you read the passages below, put them out, one by one, until the room is dark. Sit in silence for a moment, thinking of how sad the Disciples must have been. Turn the lights back on and put a black cloth or scarf or any dark fabric over the unlit candles. Leave it there until Easter Sunday.
The day begins late Thursday when Judas betrays Jesus, when he is arrested where he has been praying in the garden of Gethsemane. He is imprisoned and his disciples desert him. He is tried before Jewish and Roman authorities, beaten and mocked, then required to carry his own cross up the hill to Golgotha to be crucified, nailed to the wooden cross and left to suffer until he dies.
Some followers are given permission to take the body down once he is pronounced dead and it is laid in the tomb before 6:00 pm, when the Sabbath (Saturday) begins and all work stops. Jesus lies in the tomb throughout the Sabbath.
Read: Matthew 27; Mark 15; Luke 22:66-23:56; John 18:28-19:37
Wonder and discuss together: If you were one of the 12 disciples or one of the Marys, how would you feel after Jesus died?
Activity: Print out this cross coloring page and color pictures of the gifts Jesus has given you. It could be a picture of your family, your friends, a special talent you have, etc.
Watch: This video that portrays the Crucifixion for you to watch during your prayer time today. This video is an animated account and is appropriate for anyone to watch.
Close by watching the prayer for Good Friday: Watch video
HOLY SATURDAY (also known as Black Saturday)
Saturday was the Jewish Sabbath, the day when Jews stayed home and didn’t work. The Disciples thought Jesus was dead and gone forever. They were afraid the Roman soldiers or the Temple guards might come to arrest them. Imagine how long and sad a day this was.
Have a short time of prayer in the evening. Talk about sadness.
Wonder and discuss together: What do you do when you’re sad or afraid? Be honest about feeling fear or despair or grief.
Activity: Draw a picture that expresses your feelings of fear or sadness or grief. (You too, adults.)
Close by watching the prayer for Holy Saturday: Watch video
HE IS RISEN!
Early in the morning, women go to the tomb and find that the stone at the entrance has been rolled away. An angel tells them that Jesus is alive and gives them a message. Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene in the garden, to Peter, to two disciples on the road to Emmaus and later that day to all the disciples, except Thomas.
This is the most important day of the year for Christians all over world! Plan a “party” after worship. If you’re alone – call, Skype, Facetime, Zoom or connect in some other way with someone else who might need a call and can share in your celebration.
Preparation: Collect as many bells or other noisemakers as you can find to use in the Easter Service. When the service begins, take the dark cloth off your candles and light them.
Sing: Enjoy Easter morning music with Daniel Louise and Anna Lepetri at 9:00 am on Sunday via Facebook Live.
Join all of Trinity: in the Online Easter Worship Service at 11:00 am Sunday morning.
Greet each other: by saying, “Jesus is risen!!” The reply is “He is risen indeed!”
Read: Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24: 1-49; John 20
Wonder and discuss together: I wonder why the disciples didn’t recognize Jesus when he appeared to them? Can you think of a time you remember feeling God’s presence in a moment?
Activity: Consider doing a scripture scavenger hunt as a family. For younger children, print out this butterfly coloring page. Cut it out and save it or display it at home until we are back at church together again. Then bring it and add it to our bulletin board in the Elementary Education hallway. It will remind us of the hope we find in Jesus!