During Holy Week the final days of the life and ministry of Jesus are played out in the reality of the present moment. From earliest times Christian communities undertook an annual observance of the saving death and resurrection of Jesus. From the fourth century, influenced by pilgrimages made to Jerusalem, there developed a week long re-enactment of all the dramatic events from our Lord’s final days. Thereby all Christian people, however far from Jerusalem they were, could participate in the liturgical observance of the events of Jesus’ last days.
On Palm Sunday (Sunday 20 March) Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem is recalled in the Liturgy of the Palms and the record of his Passion is solemnly proclaimed. The main celebration is at Oakham at 10:30am, and there are usual services in the villages.
Monday and Tuesday of Holy Week each have services of Compline where different portions of the passion are read and meditated upon. These are at Egleton on Monday 21 March, and Teigh on Tuesday 22 March, both at 7:30pm. On Wednesday 23 March there is a performance of ‘The Crucifixion’ by John Stainer at Oakham at 7:30pm.
Maundy Thursday is when the Church recalls the final meal of Jesus with his friends, and by recalling it we draw to the heart of Holy Week. To re-enact these events is to engage in the deepest form of Christian formation, not simply to observe but to become fully identified with the one who washes feet and gives himself fully to God’s will. This takes place at Oakham at 7:30pm.
Good Friday is the most solemn day of Christian devotion. The services focus on the towering significance of the Cross in the life of the believer. The service at Oakham starts at 12 noon, when the liturgy is sung, and is followed by two hours of addresses, hymns and meditations, finishing at 3:00pm.
Holy Saturday – it should be remembered that this is not Easter Saturday, but rather a day of solemn abandonment when Jesus lies dead in the tomb. No services are provided and the Church prepares herself for the joyous celebration of Easter morning.
Easter Day starts with the Dawn Service, with the Easter Vigil and First Communion of Easter at Langham at 5:45am.