Everyone is invited to churches throughout Lodi and the surrounding communities for worship on Sunday. This is a day typically called Palm Sunday, and for followers of Jesus the Christ, this is the beginning of the Holy Week journey. Everyone who is seeking a relationship with God is invited to worship.
Many recall from the Bible that as Holy Week (a term Christians have used since the third century) begins, Jesus the Christ is entering Jerusalem and is greeted with loud "hosannas" by people who were looking for the King of kings.
This Holy Week journey will take us through Maundy Thursday, which commemorates "The Lord's Supper" or what is commonly called "The Last Supper." The Last Supper of Jesus derives its name from the Latin translation of Jesus the Christ saying that evening, "A new commandment I give to you" — "mandatum novum do vobis." Did you ever think you were going to learn a little Latin this morning?
And, did you know that in Germany, Maundy Thursday has other traditions? The German word "to mourn" (grun) is very similar to the word "green" (grün). So in much of Germany, Maundy Thursday is a day to eat spinach and green salad (Gründonnerstag). This is not the only reason for eating greens, though. A traditional Jewish Passover meal is celebrated with karpas (a green vegetable, usually parsley) and bitter herbs.
And did you also know that in England, men used to shave their beards on Maundy Thursday, as this was a time to cleanse the body as well as the soul to prepare for Easter?
Many churches in our area will hold Maundy Thursday services. Please feel welcome to join one of them.
Then within Holy Week, there is, of course, Good Friday. A unique day, Good Friday. Christians across the world commemorate Jesus' death and call it "Good." Even non-Christians recognize this day out of respect for their family and friends who are believers in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
The severe beating and ultimate death of Jesus by crucifixion is difficult to comprehend, but as many a preacher has said: "It's Friday, but Sunday is coming."
Praise God for Easter Sunday on April 24. Thousands upon thousands of people in Lodi and the surrounding area will fill our local churches for a time of celebration, and you are invited to join them. You will worship alongside billions of people within the Body of Christ across this world who will take time to remember and celebrate that Jesus is Risen. He is Risen indeed.
The Lodi Ministerial Association pastors look forward to the entire Holy Week experience with you, and pray that you not only feel welcome at a local church but also take time to extend an invitation to someone you care about.
Please remember, if you are a disciple of the Risen Lord, you are called (check out Matthew 28) to reach out in Christian love and invite someone to worship with you during this upcoming Holy Week.
Chris Townsend is the lead pastor at Emanuel Lutheran Church and leader of the Lodi Ministerial Association.