Holy Week at the Advocate: Carrboro becomes Jerusalem

One of the blessings of being a “church without a building” is that we are take our Holy Week liturgies out into the town and country, remembering the experience of Jesus and his followers on the streets of Jerusalem, in the “upper room”, before the councils of church and state, and on the road to Calvary, walking the way with him in story and song.

Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday (March 24) We gather at the Carrboro Town Commons at 11 AM. Rememberring Jesus’ “triumphal entry” into Jerusalem, we gather as the people of the first century did, and wave our branches of palm (provided) and flowers from along the way (brought from the homes of those who bring them).

There we hear the story of the Lord’s Passion, and realize how relatively quickly the cries of “Hosanna” become the shouts of “Crucify Him”.

On Maundy Thursday, we gather at 6:30 PM at the Fleming Lodge at Camp New Hope, on highway 86, three miles north of the I40 interchange. The disciples gathered with Jesus for the Passover in the “upper room”, we gather together for a middle eastern meal, lovingly prepared by two of people of the Advocate. We enjoy food and wine and fellowship, and re-live the story of Jesus washing his disciples feet and instituting the holy communion in his “last supper” with them. The evening ends in darkness, as we anticipate the events of the next day. (bring a flashlight to find your way back to your car!).

On Good Friday, we return to downtown Carrboro. At the noon hour, we gather at the Carrboro Town Commons for the Good Friday liturgy. This is a simple service of prayer and scripture reading.

Then, at 1 PM we join with others at the tree in front of the Carrboro Town Hall to begin The Way of the Cross/ Via Dolorosa.  We will walk the Way of the Cross through downtown Carrboro, concluding at the old Carrboro cemetery.

The way of the cross began as a practice of Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem, walking the path that Jesus followed in the final hours leading to his execution and burial. As pilgrims returned home, they carried this devotion with them. Church tradition now recognizes 14 stations along the way, marking events from Jesus’ condemnation to his burial. Eight of these stations are taken from events described in the Gospels; the remaining six are inferred from these accounts, or come to us from pious legend and tradition.

In Mexico and Central America, the Way of the Cross is often walked through town and city streets on Fridays in Lent and on Good Friday. We walk the way of the cross today through our own town. We do so not only to remember a series of events in 1st century Palestine, but also to reflect on the state of the world, our nation, our city, and ourselves, and Christ’s presence in all of these places. We conduct the way of the Cross (La Vía Dolorosa) in English and in Spanish, in recognition of, and with hospitality for, our neighbors who are Spanish-speaking. All are welcome and invited to walk the Way with us.

Then, at 9 PM on Saturday night, we gather for The Great Vigil of Easter, this year with Baptism of our adult catechumen, Jonathan Leiss. And we will all  renew our Baptismal Vows. At the the Unity Center of Peace on Seawell School Road. This is our liturgy of Easter, when we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord in the darkness of night. (As you are able, please bring a bell, horn or whistle to accompany the Paschal Shout). In this liturgy, at once solemn and festive, we hear again the story of God’s creation, the prophets, the promise, the incarnation, and our salvation. We gather in darkness and move to light. We gather in expectation, and move to joy. If you have never experienced and Easter Vigil, you are especially encouraged to do so this year.

On Easter Day (March 31), the celebration continues at 11 AM with a festive Eucharist and Easter Dance (simple and fun), the baptism of a toddler of the Advocate, and Potluck Feast at the Advocate site, 8410 Merin Road (on the corner of Merin and Homestead Roads by the train tracks). Parking at the site is limited, so folks will need to park at the town lot across the tracks and walk or ride with others. This is a day of joy and playfulness — the Lord is risen, indeed! As you are able, bring a festive dish to share.

Holy Week provides an amazing opportunity to live into the Christian Faith. The more you put into the days and liturgies of Holy Week, the more you will receive.

Come and walk the Way with us!