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Worship: Holy Week

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Holy Week

New music telling the ancient story can bring that story alive in our own time. This week’s liturgy offers three new congregational hymns that are part of the Lenten/Holy Week story. Progressive Christianity suggests these:

In the Brilliant Sunshine


Hymn lyrics by Rev. Jim Gertmenian

Strong Love

by George Stuart 

We Need a Cross to Sign the Truth


From the Boundless Life collection

by William L. Wallace

Holy Week Tenebrae TradMockup1.pngTenebrae means “shadows,” and for centuries, Christians have held tenebrae services during Holy Week, gradually extinguishing candles in the sanctuary.  At the same time, an Advent wreath is a time-honored practice of worshiping at home, lighting candles of hope, peace, joy, and love.

"Holy Week Tenebrae" brings these two streams of Christian tradition together, creating a fresh, familiar way to explore the deeper meanings of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday.  The wreath's candles are lit with the "hosannas" of Palm Sunday; extinguished, one by one, as the week unfolds; and finally restored to a new splendor on Easter morning.  Each day includes a simple order of service: prayers, biblical readings, songs, and time for reflecting together as the shadows come and go.

Rev. Emily Meyer shares hybrid and outdoor liturgies for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil, and Easter Morning.

Includes activities for weekly Intergenerational Lenten Wonder Stations that lead to a Good Friday Stations of the Cross.

The Work of the People has curated a rich list for Holy Week, including Scattered Palms; a Psalm 118 Inspired Liturgy (for Palm Sunday or Easter Morning); Come and Take and Eat (among a long list for Maundy Thursday); The Old Story and Fruitful Darkness (among a long list for Good Friday); and Easter/Resurrection films.

Progressive Christianity offers an extensive online Service and Gathering Planning resource library, searchable by topic and element of worship.

Holy Week Coloring PagesAn Illustrated Holy Week: Including children’s moment illustrations, children’s activity bulletins for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday, coloring pages, and interactive worship guides for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday (which would take some adapting to virtual church, but would give you some great material to get you started); and Holy Week Coloring Pages.

Rev. Emily Meyer offers an intergenerational Good Friday Stations of the Cross with preparatory activities throughout Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday and Holy Wednesday, including a Leader Guide.

She also shares creative ideas for sermons, liturgical suggestions and full liturgies for Palm Sunday, Maundy ThursdayThe Easter Vigil and Easter Morning; with a comprehensive Family Guide, or options for breaking the week into Palm SundayEaster Vigil and Easter Morning.

     The Three-Day Feast: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter     The Universal Christ Liturgies – CAC Bookstore

Palm/Passion Sunday

Download Illustrated MInistry's Palm Frond Coloring Page here.

Maundy Thursday


Let this Maundy Thursday be a day of service like this church
Sustain caring for neighbors with great love with a soundtrack and a big pot of soup/chili served outside. Share enfleshed's Blessing of the Meal or one of these Communion Liturgies, (see especially In the Uncertainty, which seems to name it all right now). Please don't do a seder of any kind. If tempted, read this.

Good Friday

Seven Last Words Worship Planning GuideIllustrated Ministry's Seven Last Words Worship Planning Guide is divided into three sections to facilitate a versatile approach to worship planning:

  1. Worship Planning Guide: a detailed framework for reflecting on and planning for your Seven Last Words Good Friday service, ensuring every aspect of your service is thoughtful and engaging.
  2. Contemplative Service Liturgy: a rich collection of litanies, prayers, and hymn suggestions to foster a reflective worship experience.
  3. Intergenerational & Interactive Service Liturgy: engaging litanies, prayers, Taize and hymn suggestions, and interactive station ideas to create an interactive service that appeals to all ages.

Openings - Liturgy DownloadGOOD FRIDAY GRIEF & LAMENT


Consider reinterpreting the violence inherent to this day with the SALT Project's take-home resource, Understanding the Cross

Maybe Good Friday is simply about lament; a space to grieve all that has been lost. God's Grief, The Many's pay-and-play service, Sojourner's collection of prayers or your own tradition's liturgy for the dying all speak to our too-familiar loss; enfleshed's prayer poems for grief and loss, their contemplative service of story and song, or this prayer for healing might be a good fit, too.

The Way of the Cross: New Ideas for Lenten Prayer and Devotion

By Marty Wheeler Burnett (she/her/hers) on Feb 09, 2022

Virginia Theological Seminary's 40-minute video, The Way of the Cross (El Vía Crucis), is available free of charge for Lenten worship in English and Spanish.

Read more here about moving it outdoors and making it interactive.

Vigil of Easter

Year A

Year C

Full the Brim: Creative Resources for Lent, Year C (Theme Infographic) — A Sanctified  Art

A Sanctified Art offers a bundle of 11 multimedia ministry resources for the seasons of Lent-Easter, following the RCL Year C (all are digital files):

In Our Library

Creative Ideas for Alternative Sacramental Worship