Category Archives: Holy Week

Holy Week Hymnody: At the Cross of Jesus



A remarkable five-part hymn by Edward Monro: “The Story of the Cross”(1864).

[From Anthony Esolen, Touchstone Journal]:

The first part is The Question:


See Him in raiment rent,

With His blood dyed:

Women walk sorrowing

By His side.

Heavy that Cross to Him,

Weary the weight:

One who will help Him stands

At the gate.

Multitudes hurrying

Pass on the road:

Simon is sharing with

Him the load.

Who is this traveling

With the curst tree—

This weary prisoner—

Who is He?

The second part is The Answer:


Follow to Calvary,

Tread where He trod;

This is the Lord of life—

Son of God.

Is there no loveliness—

You who pass by—

In that lone Figure which

Marks the sky?

You who would love Him, stand,

Gaze at His face;

Tarry awhile in your

Worldly race.

As the swift moments fly

Through the blest week,

Jesus, in penitence,

Let us seek.


In the third part of the poem, we address the Lord personally:


On the Cross lifted up,

Thy face I scan,

Scarred by that agony—

Son of Man.

Thorns form Thy diadem,

Rough wood Thy throne,

To Thee Thy outstretched arms

Draw Thine own.

Nails hold Thy hands and feet,

While on Thy breast

Sinketh Thy bleeding head

Sore opprest.

Loud is Thy bitter cry,

Rending the night,

As to Thy darkened eyes

Fails the light.

Shadows of midnight fall,

Though it is day;

Friends and disciples stand

Far away.

Loud scoffs the dying thief,

Mocking Thy woe;

Can this my Savior be

Brought so low?

Yes, see the title clear,

Written above,

‘Jesus of Nazareth’—

Name of love!

What, O my Savior dear,

What didst Thou see,

That made Thee suffer and

Die for me?

In the fourth part the Lord responds:


Child of my grief and pain!

From realms above,

I came to lead thee to

Life and love.

For thee my blood I shed,

For thee I died;

Safe in thy faithfulness

Now abide.

I saw thee wandering,

Weak and at strife;

I am the Way for thee,

Truth and Life.

Follow my path of pain,

Tread where I trod:

This is the way of peace

Up to God.

So in the final part of the poem, the speaker replies to Jesus with eager love:


O I will follow Thee,

Star of my soul!

Through the great dark I press

To the goal.

Yea, let me know Thy grief,

Carry Thy cross,

Share in Thy sacrifice,

Gain Thy loss.

Daily I’ll prove my love

Through joy and woe;

Where Thy hands point the way,

There I go.

Lead me on year by year,

Safe to the end,

Jesus, my Lord, my Life,

King and Friend.


Anthony Esolen is Professor of English at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island, and the author of The Ironies of Faith (ISI Books), The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization (Regency), and Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child (ISI Books).  He has also translated Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata (Johns Hopkins Press) and Dante’s The Divine Comedy (Random House). He is a senior editor of Touchstone Journal.


Filed under Holy Week, Hymns, Lent, Palm Sunday, Passiontide, theology and doxology

The Suffering Servant

Monday in Holy Week

Almighty God, whose dear Son went not up to joy but
first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he
was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way
of the cross, may find it none other that the way of life and
peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives
and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever
and ever. Amen.

Preface of Holy Week

Tuesday in Holy Week

O God, by the passion of your blessed Son you made an
instrument of shameful death to be for us the means of life:
Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly
suffer shame and loss for the sake of your Son our Savior
Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Preface of Holy Week

Wednesday in Holy Week

Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be
whipped and his face to be spit upon: Give us grace to accept
joyfully the sufferings of the present time, confident of the
glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ your Son our
Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Preface of Holy Week

220    Collects:  Contemporary

From the Book of Common Prayer

Leave a comment

Filed under Holy Week

Holy Week

Giotto, The Arena Chapel Frescoes: Palm Sunday


As in all the synoptic gospels, the people spread their clothes out before Jesus as He approaches Jerusalem, a gate of which is shown on the right. Giotto here shows them removing their clothes in order to do so, although the gospels do not include this detail. As in the gospels of Matthew and Mark, others cut branches from the trees to strew in His path. As in John, they are specifically palm trees and a branch is being used, by the second figure to the right of the colt, to acclaim Jesus. The haloed figures following Jesus are, of course, the apostles.
More of Palm Sunday
Source: Web Gallery of Art

Holy Week:  Why We Do the Things We Do,

by Father Eric Dudley, St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Tallahassee, Florida

Palm Sunday:

Palm Sunday marks the end of Lent and the beginning of Holy Week.  As with all Liturgical Seasons, our objective is to trace the steps of Jesus, that our lives might be marked by His.  Palm Sunday traces his steps, as He entered Jerusalem for the last time.  We begin outside of the church [as He began outside of Jerusalem], where we bless the palms.  We joyously process into the church, where we celebrate the end of our Lord’s earthly ministry.  The people waved palm branches, as they shouted, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!  Because the jubilant waving of fronds is soon followed by betrayal, it is our custom to save the palm crosses we receive on Palm Sunday and return them to the church before the next Ash Wednesday [the first day of Lent] so that they might be burned and ground into the ash that is placed on our foreheads.
Opportunities for private Confession with a priest are available the first three days of Holy Week.  As we follow the steps of Jesus toward the Cross, we come face to face with our own betrayal of the Lord.  Reconciliation of a Penitent [page 447 of the Book of Common Prayer] is the form we use for private Confession.  The confession is made in the privacy of a prayer room and the priest is committed to maintaining utter confidentiality.  [We fully realize that Confession with a priest is not necessary to know the forgiveness of God. It is just as legitimate to kneel by your bed and offer your confessions. However, for some it is enormously powerful and cathartic to be able to say aloud to another human being the particular things that reflect that person’s separation from God and to hear a priest say aloud to those particular things, God has forgiven them!]
Maundy Thursday
The name Maundy Thursday comes from a Latin word, Mandatum, which means command.  This is the day that commemorates the Last Supper in the Upper Room, where Jesus commanded the disciples to love one another and then showed them an example of that love, by washing their feet.  Because this day commemorates the first Last Supper, the Holy Eucharist is the centerpiece of the Liturgy.  After communion, participants have the opportunity to have their feet washed, and/or wash someone else’s feet, downstairs in the Parish Hall.  [This takes place during Communion, so that people are coming and going downstairs, while Communion is happening upstairs.  This Washing of Feet is a very simple and solemn exercise, which is guided by a Verger in the Parish Hall.

After the Eucharist, the Sacrament is reserved:  [all the bread, left over from Communion, representing the Living Presence of our Lord, is taken from us and placed on an Altar in the Parish Hall, which has been set up as a Chapel] and the Altar in the Sanctuary is stripped.  The Stripping of the Altar can be a very moving event, as a solitary priest removes everything beautiful from the Sanctuary [the area around the Altar] and then removes his own vestments.  This process represents the stripping of our Lord, as he was prepared for Crucifixion.  The Altar is left bare, until Easter Day.  After the service, a Vigil is kept, in the Parish Hall, where the reserved Sacrament remains on the Altar:  [a representation of the disciples waiting with the Lord in Gethsemane.]  Some wait for ten minutes and some wait for the remainder of the evening.  However long one is able to wait, this is a lovely time for quiet meditation.  A priest enters the Parish Hall at midnight, consumes what is left of the sacrament, and extinguishes the candles.  Good Friday has begun.
Good Friday:
On Good Friday, there is a simple service [one at Noon and one at 7.00 PM], where the Passion Gospel is read and a large wooden Cross is processed.  The Cross is placed at the Altar and the clergy and congregation kneel, in silent veneration.  Veneration is followed by a series of prayers and said anthems, which offer our confessions and give thanks for the sacrificial love of God in Christ.  The Cross is draped in black and we depart.
Easter Day:
The joy of Easter Day is startling, after the solemn observances of Holy Week.  The Lord is Risen and the church is full of flowers, bells, trumpets, and Allelluias!  This is the central Feast of the Church:  the celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  This is the day that gives meaning to all the other days and we pull out all the stops!

Leave a comment

Filed under Holy Week, Liturgy, Palm Sunday, theology and doxology, Worship