Monday, April 13, 2009

Holy Week 2009 mega-post

Christ is risen!

Cheryl has videos of excellent choirs singing during Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Go over and listen.


The readings for the Communion (4pm) service on Good Friday were Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9; and the Passion narrative from John 18 and 19. The homily, however, was based on LSB 450, "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded."

Christ's body was given up for us. Below: a short exposition of the verses of the hymn.
  • Hands: bound in the Garden. How ironic! The One who created the universe by His hands allowed Himself to be bound by men, His creatures.
  • Face: struck by the attendees of the high priest. Again a sinner injured Christ.
  • Back: flogged by Pilate's orders. The Romans had metal spikes in the cat 'o' nine-tails used to tear the flesh - certainly poor preparation for carrying the Cross.
  • Head pierced by the crown of thorns. These were not mere slivers - the soldiers took pleasure in digging the long thorns in.
  • Shoulders: robed in fake purple. Then the King of the Jews was mocked.
  • Lips: uttered not a word. He was a mute sheep being led to the slaughter. Yet "these lips have often fed me" with His Word.
  • Hands/feet: nailed (not roped, as would be usual) to the Cross. This accelerated death, so that His legs were not broken.
  • Side: pierced for the world. The Sacraments (blood + water out of the incarnate Word) flowed out.
"It is finished."


Good Friday Tenebrae readings: Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Hosea 6:1-6; 1 Peter 2:21-25; Acts 4:1-12; John 19:17-30; and Lamentations 1:1-14.

"It is finished." Now rest in Jesus.

All is indeed finished - our complete reconciliation with the Father! Those words, rare today, were common on ancient debts, meaning "paid in full." Today's world is certainly "unfinished." Yet Jesus spoke these last words because He had accomplished the task for which He was appointed and about which all Scripture had prophesied: paying the full price for our sins. He was the Substitute for the entire Old Testament system of guilt and other offerings. Since He has paid the price for you, rest in Him.


Easter vigil readings: Genesis 1:1-2:2; Genesis 7:1-5, 11-18, 8:6-18, 9:8-13; Exodus 14:10-15:1 (homily text); Daniel 3:1-30; and Mark 16:1-8.

What good news this evening! We've listened to the account of God's salvation throughout history; tonight we focus on the tangible joy of the Israelites who had passed through. The Red Sea being a type of baptism, this text fits with the Vigil's traditional purpose*. Because Christ rose on this day, defeating completely sin and death, we also have assurance that we will one day rise to meet Him.

Israel was terrified as Egypt approached. This was, in fact, sinful - what reason had they to forget God's power at a time like this? Then Moses spoke to them not to fear - "The LORD will fight for you!" Indeed He did. Moses and Israel in response sang a song of deliverance, of righteous joy at the defeat and death of their foes. We do too - Christ's death and resurrection are our sure hope. Christ has completed God's entire work for us. Let us rejoice!

*At this service, three adult catechumens were confirmed into the Church.


Easter morning readings: Isaiah 25:6-9, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, and Mark 16:1-8 (sermon text).

Are we too comfortable with Easter? Contrast the astonished, fearful tombgoers. The empty tomb created this fear in their hearts, as did the accompanying angel. This was no Easter routine - we should take it seriously. His resurrection didn't sink in until Pentecost.

The women came with spices, fully expecting a dead body. Yet they found no stone, neither a body, but an angel. Instead of death, they saw God's reflected glory. When God shows man His glory, man cannot help but quake or collapse in fear. Our sin collides with God's holy glory. Often we live as if neither sin nor holiness really existed. We fill our lives with idols - even a favorite hobby can become our god.

Go to the tomb with the women, laying aside your idols. Don't think your good deeds by themselves mean anything. Begin your Easter with fear; let it be turned to joy by the angel's news. Then celebrate the Easter season for the next 50 days. God judged Christ sinfly in order to judge you sinless, sealing this forgiveness with Christ's own body and blood. Therefore cling weekly to these gifts and His words. Embrace your Brother. Live in His love. Do all to the glory of God.

He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

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