New rites for Lent, Holy Week, and Easter

February 7, 2018

Dr John Davies, Convener of the Liturgy Committee of the Scottish Episcopal Church explains:

“The Paschal mystery – the passion, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ – is central to our Christian faith, and therefore to the liturgical year.

“For this reason the Liturgy Committee was asked to produce new rites for Lent, Holy Week, and Easter, which would work more naturally with the Scottish Liturgy 1982 than the current authorised provision, Services and Ceremonies for Ash Wednesday and Holy Week 1967. After scrutiny by the Faith and Order Board, the College of Bishops has now approved a new set of rites for the beginning of Lent (Ash Wednesday), Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Vigil of Easter. These rites have been authorised for use by all churches in the Scottish Episcopal Church for an experimental period until they are submitted to the General Synod for the formal canonical process of permanent authorisation.

“The Good News of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and the triumph of the Cross, are at the centre of these rites. The experience of forgiveness that comes with the Resurrection of Jesus – forgiveness, the healing of injury, guilt, and failure – the principle of living together as a community of forgiven people, a community of Love, reborn through Baptism, are echoed in all the liturgies from Ash Wednesday to Easter.

“The rite for the beginning of Lent, whether observed on Ash Wednesday or on another day when the congregation gathers to celebrate the Eucharist, emphasises Christians’ identification as members of the redeemed people of God, through Baptism and through the Passion of Christ. The liturgy focuses our Lenten observance on the realisation of identification with Christ in our lives, so that our celebration of the Passion can hold together both the recollection of historical events and their continuing significance for our Christian lives today.

“The liturgies, which are now available on the Scottish Episcopal Church website , are intended to enable us to worship during Lent, Holy Week, and Easter as a community of faith, full of hope in a world marked by suffering; a community focused on sacrificial love and thanksgiving in the light of the Cross and Resurrection.”