LAKEPORT, Calif. – With rites that trace their origin to the fourth century, this past Sunday Christians around the world commenced what is commonly called Holy Week, commemorating the final days of Jesus Christ’s earthly life
At 5:30 p.m. on April 5, the congregation of St. John’s Church, 1190 N. Forbes St., Lakeport, will observe Maundy Thursday with a Mass to commemorate the Last Supper of Jesus and his apostles.
The name “Maundy” comes from the Latin word “mundatum” which begins the teaching of Jesus at the Last Supper: “A new commandment I give you that you love one another.”
Fr. Leo will then consecrate the bread and wine as the Body and Blood of Christ, following Jesus’ command to “Do this in remembrance of me.”
The service will conclude with the stripping of the altar, with the removal of all the altar cloths and ornaments from the sanctuary to symbolize the arrest of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane.
On Good Friday evening at 5:30 p.m., the traditional liturgy according to the Book of Common Prayer will be celebrated at St. John’s, which will begin with the reading of the Passion according to St. John, followed by the Solemn Prayers, the Veneration of the Cross, and the reception of Holy Communion.
These beautiful rites are observed very much the same as they have been since Christian antiquity.
St. John’s Holy Week observance will culminate at 5:30 p.m. Saturday with the celebration of the Easter Vigil which will be held in the chapel at Little Portion Hermitage on Diamond Dust Trail off of Highway 175, Kelseyville.
This ancient service, which dates to the first years of the Christianity, consists of nine readings from the Hebrew Scriptures of Old Testament beginning with the stories of creation and the great flood in Genesis, through the passover of the Hebrew people from the bondage of Egypt in Exodus, readings from the various prophets, culminating in St. Paul’s proclamation of Jesus’ resurrection in his epistle to the first Christians in Rome.
Then St. John’s newly appointed deacon will lead the people out to the sepulcher garden at the Hermitage to hear St. Mark’s account of Jesus’ resurrection. This will be followed by the renewal of Baptismal Vows and the celebration of Easter Eucharist.
On April 8 at 10 a.m. the Festal Mass of Easter Sunday, celebrating Christ’s resurrection from the dead will commence at St. John’s with the prelude, J. S. Bach’s “The Day has Dawned,” played by Melvin Taylor on the newly restored Allan organ.
Taylor also will play Bach’s “Glory to God,” “Lamb of God” and “Blessed Christ Is Risen,” as well as several beloved Easter hymns sung by the congregation throughout the joyous service.
The celebrant and preacher will be The Rev. Canon Stephen N. Brannon, who said: “As for my Easter sermon, I plan to emphasize the ‘Now’ meaning of Resurrection rather than relegating Easter only to what happened long ago, or what we fervently hope will happen after we die. Easter Faith, as all ‘faith,’ as a gift of grace flowing from a commitment made and lived.”
St. John’s Church, the presence and ministry of the The Episcopal Church in Lake County since 1877, is grateful to be able to offer these traditional Holy Week and Easter Services to those who are looking for a prayerful and spiritual way to participate in these transformative events that make present God’s infinite love.
All baptized Christians, who are at peace with God and their fellow human beings, are invited to receive Holy Communion at our altar, regardless of marital status, gender orientation or church affiliation.
For further information please call Fr. Leo Joseph at 707-349-6563.