The glory of Easter is the heart of the Christian gospel. It is the centre of the Church's faith and worship. In the earliest days of the Church it was the only Christian festival and annual celebration, in one act, of Christ's life, death, resurrection, ascension, and his sending of the Holy Spirit. the celebration lasted fifty days in one continuous festival of adoration, joy and thanksgiving - ending on the Feast of Pentecost.
By the fourth century, the Church was adding to its celebration of Easter a week-long commemoration of the events which preceded our Lord's resurrection - beginning on Sunday (Palm Sunday) with his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Christians would recall the final meal Jesus had with his disciples and his institution of the sacrament of the Eucharist (on Maundy Thursday). On the Friday (Good Friday), they would commemorate Christ's agony and death on the cross. On Saturday night (Easter Vigil) they would gather for the reading of the scripture, for prayers, for the baptism of their new converts and then, as the day of the resurrection dawned, for the joyful celebration of Easter. The week before Easter became known as Holy Week. (BAS page 296)
Here at St. Mark, we will be walking through this Holy Week, deepening our journey of faith as we contemplate, reflect and pray that our hearts may be opened to the Spirit of God. May we draw closer to God as we share this time together.