Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again. These words are called the “Memorial Acclamation” and we say (or sing) them as part of the Great Prayer of Thanksgiving when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper. When we use them, we affirm the core of Christian faith and we sum up our understanding of time. We remember the past. We live in the present. We look forward to the future. We believe that Jesus is Immanuel – God with us and God for us. His death is, as Paul says in Romans 5:8, the “proof” of God’s love for us and for the world. Christ has died: we remember Jesus’ death for us each time we come to the Lord’s Supper.
Christian faith is not just about something that happened long ago and far away. Christ is risen. Jesus is available to us now because, by the power of God, he is alive. We come to the Lord’s Table not to re-enact the Upper Room but to meet our Risen Lord as did his disciples on the Emmaus Road (see Luke 24:13f). When we break bread and share the cup, the Risen Christ is really present to us and among us, as we are invited into deeper relationship with one another and with him.
Christian faith is also about the future. This world and our own lives are not yet how we hope they will be. We live in a broken and fearful world. The signs of this are all around: poverty, hunger, disease, war, isolation, fear. But we know that this is not what God wants for us or for any of God’s beloved children. Thus, we confess that the day is coming when God will bind up the broken and the broken-hearted, when justice will roll down like mighty waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. Because we trust God’s vision for the future, we say that Christ will come again.
Holy Week (April 9-16) is the time when this affirmation comes alive. We are invited to walk through this story. We remember Jesus’ last night with his closest followers on Maundy Thursday, and we are reminded of his command that we should love one another as he has loved us. We experience the tragedy of his death and encounter again the depth of God’s love for us on Good Friday. At the Easter Vigil (on Saturday evening), we remember the whole story of God and how the promises made long ago are fulfilled in Jesus and bring us the gift of new life. On Easter Sunday, we gather to proclaim that Christ is risen indeed!
Once again, Highland will mark this journey of faith during Holy Week. This is your opportunity to deepen your relationship with God and experience Christ alive in our midst. Please join us.
Maundy Thursday – 7pm: the service will include foot-washing (for those who wish) and the Lord’s Supper. Music by the Chancel Choir and Matt Nickel preaching.
Good Friday – 7pm: the reading of the Passion of our Lord according to John and prayers for the whole world. Music by the Alpha and Omega Choirs and Doodle Harris preaching.
The Easter Vigil – 6:30pm: a re-telling of the story of God and God’s people, renewal of our baptismal covenant, celebration of the Lord’s Supper and a feast following. Special music led by a variety of musicians and David Gambrell preaching.
A blessed Holy Week to you all. Cynthia Campbell