Holy Week

Holy Week is the journey from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, from Christ’s entry into Jerusalem to the resurrection. It moves through the entire arc from the Last Supper, Judas’s betrayal of Jesus, Jesus before Pontius Pilate, the journey to Golgotha, Jesus’ crucifixion, his burial, and his resurrection.

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Worship Ideas for Holy Week

Some congregations may hold a number of services this week, including Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Vigil. Others may choose to hold only a single service between Palm/Passion Sunday and Easter morning, weaving together themes related to each of Jesus’ last days.

When: the week leading up to Easter
Liturgical colors: purple or red (and sometimes white and then black)
Associated objects/symbols: foot-washing bowl, bread and wine, cross
Themes: those related to the events of Jesus’ final week, including:

Ideas from Scripture for Holy Week

Holy Week Narratives

Significant Events

Love One Another

Sacrificial Love

Salvation in Christ by Grace

Reflections on Holy Week

In Holy Week Christians commemorate the events just before Jesus's sacrificial death and his burial. On Palm Sunday, Jesus is hailed as a conquering king ("Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord"), illustrating a part of the confusion that pervaded Jesus' life. Would he usher in the kingdom of God in its fullness right now, or only later? On Thursday Jesus celebrated Passover with his disciples and instituted the Lord's Supper, feeding the traitor Judas along with the other disciples. On Friday Jesus died a horrible death by crucifixion on Golgotha and was buried. Christians believe that Jesus' death was not a mere expiration, but a heroic sacrifice of himself to win atonement "for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2).

Catholic monks often read the book of Lamentations during Holy Week. The death of Jesus is to them like the fall of the city of Jerusalem. In each case the center of our life has been assailed and ruined.