As I write this we are duplicating the Easter Vigil programs. On Wednesday evening the palms arrived for Sunday’s masses, and all week parishioners have been delivering Easter eggs and candy for the hunt on Easter Day. The violet veils in the church have been changed to passion red for Holy Week, and work on the stained glass window in the St. Mary Chapel has been finished. Many have volunteered to pray with the Sacrament on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, the outreach meal for Hale Kipa on Good Friday has been organized, and shopping was done earlier this week for the Palm Sunday Choral Evensong reception. Meanwhile the choir meets faithfully every Tuesday night to practice their music for our liturgies. There are many moving parts to Holy Week, and yet it is a labor of love. Holy Week is the most important week of the year for those who follow Jesus. We do everything for the glory of God.
This year’s Holy Week brings about a few changes. Unlike the past few years, we will not have a neighborhood procession on Palm Sunday. The crosswalks on Kapahulu Avenue have been removed, changed, or altered, and our recent procession route is now impossible. About a decade ago, the Palm Sunday procession travelled around the block of the property, but construction at the site next to the church, especially on Campbell Avenue, makes this route currently unpredictable and unsafe. We have thought of many scenarios, but unfortunately all have significant obstacles for a public procession, or even a casual walk. Thus, the 10:00 am High Mass will have a shorter procession this year, beginning on the Parish Hall Lanai. The good news is that we can sing our favorite Palm Sunday hymns with gusto, as the organ will be supporting us. Once we are in the church, the Liturgy of the Palms moves into the Solemn Mass of the Passion, and this year we will hear the Passion according to St. Luke.
If you have not yet been to Stations of the Cross this Lent, you have two more chances. We will walk the Way of the Cross this Friday at 6:30 pm as is our Lenten custom. On Sunday we will walk the Way of the Cross in the midst of Choral Evensong and Benediction for a final time. A reception follows the evening service on Palm Sunday.
Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday in Holy Week
For the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday in Holy Week, we are offering a Sung Mass at 12:00 noon and Evensong and Mass at 6:00 pm. These services are approximately 45 minutes, and they are perfect for attending during the lunch hour or after work. The music, hymns, and chants will be sung without the organ. As is our custom, the noon masses will be preceded by Noonday Prayer at 11:45 am. Homilies will be preached at the noon masses, and readings from the church fathers and mothers will be offered at Noonday Prayer and Evensong. It is a venerable tradition to worship God each day of Holy Week.
The Triduum - The Three Days
The services of the Three Days, or the Triduum, are always packed with meaning at St. Mark’s. (Many churches are not able to offer these services, only doing the Good Friday service.) On Maundy Thursday everyone is invited to wash feet at the 6:00 pm mass. On Good Friday at 12:00 noon, all the components of the Prayer Book liturgy are offered, including the Sung Passion according to Saint John, the Solemn Collects, the Veneration of the Cross, and Communion from the Reserved Sacrament. On Saturday at the Great Vigil of Easter, we begin at 7:00 pm in the garden with the new fire, moving then to the church for the Exultet, readings, renewal of baptismal vows, and first mass of Easter. A reception follows the Easter Vigil in the Parish Hall.
Luke’s Easter Story
We are in the year of Luke, and so at the Easter masses we will hear Luke’s account of the resurrection. Usually our practice at St. Mark’s has been to hear the Easter story from Mark, Matthew, or Luke at the Easter Vigil, and then on Easter Day to hear John’s version of the resurrection. Thus, for every Easter since I have been with you (ten Easters) we have heard John’s Gospel on Easter Day. This year we will have the account from Luke at the Easter Vigil and on Easter Day. John’s account is good, but many of our visitors never come to the Great Vigil, and so we can share with them another version of the Easter story.
Please come to the Easter Vigil and an Easter Day mass. Easter Eve and Easter Day are both joyful celebrations, but they are also different in nature. These services are not mere repeats, and as for the sermons, Easter Eve and Easter Day will each have respective sermons. On Easter Eve there are a multitude of scripture readings from which to draw inspiration, due to the first half of that service. On Easter Day there are always new revelations of the resurrection to share.
Lastly, popular culture always associates Easter as being a morning feast, full of light. This is certainly true in regard to Easter Day. But in the ancient church, Easter began in the darkness, and after Easter day passes, there are significant Easter stories that take place in the evening. After all of the worship of Holy Week, Paschal Evensong and Benediction will be celebrated at 5:00 pm on Easter Day. We will hear two of the evening Easter Gospels - John 20:19-23 at the Evensong, and Luke 24:13-35 during Adoration. Benediction on Easter Day is the best offering of Benediction all year long.
St. Mark’s is excited to welcome you this Holy Week and Easter as we worship the one true God.
Father Paul Lillie