Christ is risen, Alleluia! It’s been a meaningful, joyful and blessed Holy Week here at Advent Church, St. John’s University ~ and now Easter is upon us, so a very happy Easter to you all! This is the Easter fire, lit last night at 8:00 pm as we started our Easter Vigil Service…
And the sun’s been shining all week, and the cherry blossom was still out at the beginning of Holy Week…..
Holy Week started last Sunday, Palm Sunday ~ YES!
We began our Palm Sunday service with a procession around the main entrance of St. John’s University. We were very pleased that Bishop Lai was able to join us for the service and procession too.
The procession wound its way around the church, where we have the Stations of the Cross, pausing at each in turn. Then as we processed into the church, each person took one of the small green palm crosses…
During the service, we had a dramatic presentation of the events of Holy Week, acted out by our students, past and present…..
Then on Monday night, the St. John’s University ‘Movie Club’ showed the movie ‘Silence‘ 沈默 on a big screen on the main playing field. This was not done intentionally for Holy Week, rather they had to choose an evening when there was no baseball practice, and they chose the movie because it was filmed in Taiwan. But it so happens that it was so appropriate for Holy Week – and quite a number of us turned up to watch. This was my second time to see it, and it’s much improved on the second viewing ~ like I knew when the gruesome bits were coming up, but also I noticed things I had missed the first time round. Still utterly compelling and challenging. Brutal and horrific, and yet also so moving. And so fitting for Holy Week. For me, this was one of the highlights of the week.
On Maundy Thursday, we held our Passover Meal in the Advent Church Center, and a wonderful mix of students and adults came along. This took a huge amount of work and preparation, but all worth it. We were so pleased to welcome SJU President Ay and his wife too.
During the service that followed in the church, we had foot-washing. President Ay had his feet washed by our rector, Rev. Lennon Chang – the teacher washing the feet of his former student. We also had our chaplain, Rev. Wu Hsing-Hsiang, washing the feet of Jin-Ching, our SJU Student Fellowship Leader, and Shu-Jing from our chaplaincy washed the feet of Pei-Ching, one of our 4th year students who was preparing for her baptism on Easter Eve. We celebrated the ‘Last Supper’ together, remembering the evening when Jesus instituted the Holy Communion, and shared bread and wine with his disciples just before his death.
The altar had been stripped after the service on Maundy Thursday, and the crosses were covered in black cloth. On Good Friday, it being a working and school day, we had a lunchtime service with our students, faculty and staff acting out the events of Good Friday – the trial, crucifixion and death of Jesus, and we finished in silence around the cross and the altar…..
Then to last night, which was Easter Eve, Saturday, and we held our Easter Vigil at 8:00 pm, with the lighting of the Easter fire, and also 2 baptisms. It was great to see so many of our student fellowship coming along to support Pei-Ching in her baptism…
I was outside taking photos during the baptisms, along with a little 2-year-old and his father. He was totally absorbed in watching events inside at the font….
This morning, Easter Day, we could truly say, ‘Christ is risen, Alleluia!’ I even wore a skirt for the occasion, and got mentioned in the Notices as a result! Advent Church was filled with wonderful choir music as our choir sang and sang so much beautiful Easter music.
Yu-Jie accompanied the choir on the piano, and glorious sounds filled the church!
Ah yes, and to finish, we had an Easter egg hunt!
And then we had lunch and birthday cake – celebrating all April birthdays. Here we all are at the end of the service singing happy birthday together!
And so, wishing you all a Happy Easter. Christ is risen indeed, Alleluia!