During the 6 Sundays of Lent this year leading up to Holy Week and Easter, our worship services will be centered upon the 7 Last Words of Jesus from the cross. Our tradition, from the very forming of the Gospels, has always held these last “words” (phrases or sayings) he spoke before his death as especially sacred. The 7 Words, including “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34) and “Woman here is your son… Son, here is your mother” (John 19:26) among others, are spread across the four Gospels and reveal the very human anguish that links him in a profound way to the sorrows and struggles of our own lives. At some point in the Middle Ages the words were ordered as they stand now and services were held – often during Holy Week – to invite worshipers to reflect upon the words and through them how Jesus speaks into their own lives.
During our Lenten worship services starting Sunday, March 1st, we’ll engage each of the 7 Words through prayers, sermons and our music. Each week, to further illuminate the 7 Words, the choir, along with the esteemed Aryaloka String Quartet and organ, will offer a corresponding movement from Joseph Haydn’s profound masterpiece, The Seven Last Words. The work serves as a meditation on the gravity of tragedy, as well as on the promise of redemption. Our hope is that this worship series will open you to the compassionate heart of Jesus as you move through the reflective season of Lent and prepare you for the joyful celebration of Easter.