Egeria, fourth-century pilgrim in Jerusalem, informs her readers that Palm Sunday “is the beginning of the Easter week, or as they call it here, ‘The Great Week.’”
Our prayer for you, our readers, is that this most holy time in the Christian calendar will bring blessings, comfort, and joy to all who share in the liturgies of this “Great Week.” Hymn writers from across the ages express our praise to God and prayers for followers of Christ better than our own words.
Palm Sunday/Sunday of the Passion (Text: Dolores Duffner, b. 1939; ELW 431)
O Christ, What Can It Mean for Us, stanza 2
You came, the image of our God, to heal and to forgive, to shed your blood for sinners’ sake that we might rise and live.
To break the law of death you came, the law of love to bring: a diff’rent rule of righteousness, a diff’rent kind of king.
Maundy Thursday (Text: Brian Wren, b. 1936; ELW 358)
Great God, your Love Has Called Us, stanza 3
Great God, in Christ you call our name and then receive us as your own
not through some merit, right or claim but by your gracious love alone.
We strain to glimpse your mercy seat and find you kneeling at our feet.
Good Friday (Text: attr. Bernard of Clairvaux, 1091-1153; German version, Paul Gerhard, 1607-76; LSB 450)
O Sacred Head, Now Wounded, stanza 1
O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns Thine only crown.
O sacred Head, what glory, what bliss till now was Thine!
Yet though despised and gory, I joy to call Thee mine.
Holy Saturday (Text: Stephen P. Starke, b. 1955; LSB 930)
All You Works of God, Bless the Lord, stanza 1
All you works of God, bless the Lord! All you angels, now bless the Lord;
Come, you have heavens and pow’rs that be, Praise the Lord and His majesty:
Raise you voices high, praise and magnify, All you works of God, bless the Lord!
Resurrection of Our Lord (Text: Martin Luther, 1483-1546: LSB 458)
Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands, stanza 1
Christ Jesus lay in deaths’ strong bands For our offenses given;
But now at God’s right hand He stands And brings us life from heaven.
Therefore let us joyful be And sing to God right thankfully Loud songs of alleluia! Alleluia!
Next week’s blog post will resume Kent’s review of the catechumenal rites during the Period of Enlightenment.
Photo by Rhoda Schuler: Palm Sunday, Old City of Jerusalem, 1999