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that the three days before Easter are called the Triduum? Each of these days has a special significance

and it has been said that you can’t go from Palm

Sunday to Easter without passing through “The

Three Days”. Observing this time, rather than bypassing this part of Christ’s journey to the cross and

beyond, can certainly enhance our experience and

appreciation of Easter morning. It begins with Maundy Thursday, which observes Jesus giving the

commandment to love one another and instituting

the last supper, which we call Holy Communion or

the Eucharist. We strip the altar while hearing Psalm

22 read, which reminds us of how Jesus was abandoned by his disciples, stripped, beaten, and humiliated by the soldiers. There is no benediction; service resumes on Good Friday. We might read the

Last Seven Words of Jesus that reveal both his divinity and his humanity. Lights will gradually be

dimmed and candles extinguished as we feel cold

and abandoned along with Jesus as he utters those

last words before he cries out and breathes his last.

The service might end with a “Strepitus” (a loud

noise often made by slamming a Bible shut) symbolizing the stone being rolled across the opening of

the tomb and all creation groaning in agony at the

death of Christ. Again, the congregation leaves without benediction and some congregations (not Bethesda) come together again at the Easter Vigil on

Holy Saturday. This first celebration of Easter begins outside with congregants carrying candles inside, returning light and life to the church. Readings

recount acts of salvation throughout history and

shouts of “Alleluia!” are heard for the first time since

Lent began. It is necessary to include the Easter

Vigil in a discussion of the Triduum but pleases note

that Bethesda does not meet on Saturday. We will

gather on Easter Sunday to rejoice and celebrate

Christ’s resurrection and his defeating of sin, death

and the power of the devil.

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