Preparing for Holy Week and Easter Day
The season of Lent culminates with Holy Week—the ritual participation in the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ. Through ancient liturgies and contemporary experience, we not only hear the story of Jesus, we become part of it now. The heart of the Christian faith is the paschal mystery—through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ God brings transformation, salvation, and renewal for us and the whole creation. Holy Week is the time of deep contemplation that our lives are caught up in this mystery. On Palm Sunday we celebrated the entry into Holy Week, with Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem when he is hailed as the new king. The Three Days (Triduum is the traditional Latin name) is the centerpiece of the entire Christian liturgical year, forming one worship event over three days. Maundy Thursday connects us to the events of Jesus’ last supper, and includes the foot washing ritual that leads us to participate in Jesus’ own humility and loving service to others. Good Friday is the solemn day of honoring Jesus’ death, seeing in the way of the cross—rejection, suffering, death—the power of God to redeem and transform us. The Easter Vigil is the greatest liturgy of the church year, with a beautiful emphasis on celebrating the triumph of the resurrection over the powers of death, and marking the chief time for baptisms in the church. The entire liturgy functions as the baptismal renewal ritual for the whole gathered community, finding new life again in the grace and promises of God in Christ through the Spirit.
The Resurrection of Our Lord
Easter Day begins the church’s fifty day celebration of the resurrection of Christ. It is the time of greatest joy as we gather and live in the good news of God’s victory over death and the power to renew our lives in Christ. It is the counter-balance to the forty day season of Lent that prepared us for such great celebration. In the tradition of the church, it was also the time for the newly baptized to deepen their connection to Christ through sharing in the resurrection meal of communion. We are invited to experience the mystery of new life in Christ as a gift of grace. We are invited to live this good news in the world with justice, love, and joy. We proclaim the story of God’s love – love that never ends. Alleluia! Christ is risen!
At that time, says the Lord, I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people.
Come Make the Journey Each Day
The high point of the story of God’s love is the celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ. The rituals of Holy Week and Easter are meant to be a source of renewal and inspiration. Plan on participating each day in the church’s deep, profound celebration of the paschal (Easter) mystery.
Information on Holy Week and Easter Day liturgies and events online at http://www.felcaustin.org/worship-music/hw-easter
April 13: Maundy Thursday
Noon: Table Communion with Lunch (in the parlor)
A simple service of eucharist, meal, and fellowship
7:00 pm (not 7:30): Confession, Foot Washing, Communion, Stripping the Altar
We end the Lenten disciplines and focus on the story of Jesus’ self-giving love.
Maundy Thursday is a beautiful and profound liturgy that invites us to share in Jesus’ humility and observe his commandment to love one another as he loved us, expressed in the foot washing ritual.
April 14: Good Friday
Noon to 6:00 pm: Meditation on the Cross
The sanctuary will be open all afternoon for your meditation on the mystery of the cross. Materials are provided for guided prayer. Stations of the Cross and artwork will be placed in the sanctuary and chapel. Music interludes will be offered.
7:00 pm (not 7:30): Good Friday Liturgy and Adoration of the Cross
This most solemn liturgy gathers us together before the cross through word and music to experience the good news that Christ transforms the suffering and death of the world by going through it with us. There will be experiential stations offered with children beginning in the fellowship hall (see below). Nursery care is provided.
April 15: The Great Vigil of Easter with Baptism
7:59 pm (sunset, new time): with champagne reception after
The greatest and grandest liturgy of the church’s tradition, the Easter Vigil is a celebration of the resurrection of Christ that renews our lives. We gather in the parking lot to begin. Enter the fullness of the good news of the Paschal Mystery with fire, light, smell, silence, sound, story, image, water, oil, music, bread, wine, champagne: JOY! We’ll celebrate a baptism, affirm baptism, and celebrate the first eucharist of Easter. Worshipers and leaders from area Lutheran churches and others will be our guests. All are welcome!
April 16: The Resurrection of our Lord with Baptism
Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia! All are welcome!
Festival Easter Eucharist at 8:30 am and 11:00 am
Bring fresh flowers (or use those provided) to adorn the Easter cross in the sanctuary.
Gathering music begins ten minutes before each liturgy.
Easter Breakfast from 9:00–10:30 am (freewill offering)
Easter Egg Hunt at 10:00 am
Nursery care is provided.
From the Presiding Bishop
On Saturday, April 8, The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, issued a pastoral message on Syria. The link is at www.elca.org/News-and-Events/7881
Companion Cafe will not serve on Wednesdays, April 12 and 19.
Cafe will serve next on Wednesday, April 26 at 6:00 pm.
Easter Season Adult Forum: Begins Sunday, April 23 at 9:45 am
Formation, Reformation, and Transformation
The Adult Forum at 9:45 am this Easter season focuses on the Lutheran way of being Christian. We explore some of the basic historical trends of 16th C Europe and the theological confessions that shaped–and continue to shape–Lutheran Christian people. We consider also how today’s struggles might be informed by the principles of reformation that still move in and through the Spirit. How does our global economy reflect our relationship with Christ? How does our country’s budget reflect the liberation proclaimed in Jesus? How does our congregation practice discernment through Scripture? Come gather in the parlor and explore these questions and others, together with fellow travelers along the faith journey of formation, reformation, and transformation.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fellowship, Food, Fun: Annual Chicken BBQ
Sunday, April 23, 5:00—8:00 pm
Chicken BBQ is one of FELC’s longest traditions.
Slow cooked on our own custom-built smoker, the chicken dinner is only one part of the evening. We gather for great fellowship, live music, games, and dancing. All are welcome!
FELC Website and YouTube channel: Connect online
We are reconfiguring and updating the FELC website to better and more regularly connect with everyone, near and far. Check it out at www.felcaustin.org
We’ve also launched a YouTube channel where you can find audio of Sunday worship services. Check it out at www.youtube.com/channel/UCj9B6jWh3PqO7ojn9-tHHRQ
Connect with FELC, in person AND online.
Highlights from the Congregation Council
On Monday, March 27, the congregation council of First English Lutheran Church gathered for a monthly meeting. Here are highlights: