I got a text from our local Lutheran pastor just before Lent this year, inquiring if Central might be willing to partner up for Holy Week worship. It seemed like a good idea, and so we started plans to work together. Our choirs began to rehearse the same music so they could sing together at both services, and the Lutheran pastor and I got together and laid out what each of our congregations had planned for service. It was very cool.
Central had the privilege of hosting Maundy Thursday, which is when Christians commemorate Jesus’ Last Supper, and we were pleased that so many of our Lutheran sisters and brothers came to join us. For the past several years Central has held Maundy Thursday worship as part of a pot-luck, so we tell the story of the Last Supper around a meal of our own. We remember, we celebrate, and we allow ourselves to feel unsettled by the story.
Because it’s Central the atmosphere is influenced by liturgical thinking, but it’s also laid back and casual 1. It’s who we are, and it’s always a pleasure to share our peculiar sensibilities with our wider Christian family.
Bethany Lutheran had the privilege of hosting Good Friday, which is one of the holiest days in the Christian calendar 2. This is the day we commemorate Jesu’s crucifixion, and ponder the depths of love behind our savior’s determination to submit to the will of his Father. Bethany, being a Lutheran church, is much more structured in it’s liturgy than Central.
I loved it. I love Central’s worship as well, but I appreciated the structure and introspection brought on by the liturgy as we followed the stations of the Cross and concluded with a brief Tenebrae 3. I even got to assist my friend with the stripping of the Altar, which is not something you’d ever get to do at a Baptist church.
The movement from church to church, even as we moved through the story of Jesus’ passion, re-instilled me with sense of wonder. Christ’s body on earth is diverse and I am able to appreciate the depths this diversity reveals. There is one faith, one baptism, and one Lord – and this Holy Week helped me to appreciate that truth with renewed vigor.
- By that I don’t mean “not church as usual.” Congregations which tout this as a mantra are often casual, but they are not laid back. Central enjoys laughing at itself, and me – that’s what I mean “laid back.” ↩
- And is also ignored by far too many believers. ↩
- This is a service of shadows, where the lights go out as we follow Jesus into the tomb. ↩