If you have been following the Lenten Sunday morning sermons on the Lord’s Prayer, the series will come to an end tonight at the Maundy Thursday Service in the Sanctuary at 7:30 p.m. While the meditation for this particular service is Amen, a reflection on that particular concluding word, the truth is all the services that take place tonight on Maundy Thursday and tomorrow on Good Friday function as the Amen to Jesus’ life.
Whether you choose to attend tonight’s Family Service in the Chapel at 5:30, the 12 noon Good Friday Service led by our Youth, or the evening “Passion for Good Friday” at 7:30 p.m., presented by the Bryn Mawr Chamber Singers, your Holy Week worship will be enhanced by remembering the betrayal and death of Jesus before the resurrection is celebrated on Easter. By time-honored tradition the church follows Jesus all the way through his earthly life, remembering the depth of his suffering love. To affirm our Amen precisely there, at the end, will raise to new heights our Easter joy.
At the church I served when our children were young, there was a pillar member named Reuben Godfrey. In 1944 Reuben missed Easter and he never forgot it. I don’t mean he skipped church, as that never would have happened, but that he literally missed Easter altogether. In those latter months of World War II, Reuben was on a ship that set sail from Norfolk, Virginia, traversed the Panama Canal, and during what took 42 days to voyage to New Guinea in the South Pacific, they crossed the International Dateline going west. He went to sleep on Saturday night and woke up just hours later, on Monday morning. By crossing the International Dateline in that direction, they had skipped Easter Sunday. Worship was held on the ship on Monday morning. Had it been a Tuesday or Wednesday it may have been easily forgotten. But Reuben never forgot that his service during the war deprived him of an Easter Sunday. He also never took another Easter for granted, and each one brought him deep joy.
I am of the mind that if you leap from Palm Sunday to Easter, without any observance of Jesus’ Last Supper, his betrayal, his crucifixion and death, that you miss something of the deep joy of Easter itself. So join us for Maundy Thursday worship tonight and Good Friday observances tomorrow so that your Easter joy may be complete.