Wesley Word – April 5, 2023

Carolyn Lemaster   -  

To go along with service on Sunday, April 9, 2023

Experiencing Grace

Exploring Truth – Don’t Be Afraid

Matthew 28:1-10

Welcome to Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter, when we remember the final days and events of Jesus’ earthly life. The center of Holy Week services is the Triduum, or three days, of Holy (or Maundy) Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday.

Holy Thursday is the day we remember the events in the upper room when Jesus washed his disciples’ feet and instituted the Sacrament of Holy Communion. This day is sometimes called Maundy Thursday from the Latin, Madatum Novum, or New Commandment, from the Gospel of John where Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment: love one another.”

Good Friday is the day we remember the Crucifixion. It is the most solemn day of the Christian year.

Holy Saturday, the day before Easter, was commemorated in the early Church by the Easter Vigil. This service began on Saturday night and continued into Easter morning. This is the origin of “Sunrise Services.” People didn’t get up early to go to church, they were there all night!

I hope that all of you will join us for our Holy Thursday and Good Friday services, details are below. I wish you all a blessed Holy Week.


New Testament in a Year: https://wesleyonline.org/biblereading/

  • April 5: Luke 11:14-36
  • April 6: Luke 11:37-12:7
  • April 7: Luke 12:8-34
  • April 8: Luke 12:35-59
  • April 9: Luke 13:1-21
  • April 10: Luke 13:22-14:6
  • April 11: Luke 14:7-35


Expressing Love: Family/Mission Activity

We all know why we attend services on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday during Holy Week, but what about Saturday? Surely there is a deep history there that many or most of us do not know……Holy Saturday and the Easter Vigil: If you were celebrating the Passover in Jerusalem in A.D. 30, you likely heard that the Sanhedrin had arrested Jesus of Nazareth, surely you would have heard whispers about it Friday evening around the wells. The day following the Crucifixion was the Jewish Sabbath, a day given to God, when no work could be done. It was Saturday, what we know as Holy Saturday — part of the Paschal Triduum. The grief-stricken followers of Christ must have risen that day in a confused state, still staggered by the events of Friday. In Church history, the Easter Vigil did not always begin on Holy Saturday night. Near the fourth century, a Saturday nighttime vigil including the Service of Light, the Liturgy of the Word, Liturgy of Baptism and Liturgy of the Eucharist, lasting until midnight was indeed widely observed. Beginning in the eighth century, the vigil started on Saturday afternoon, and in the 12th century, it was moved to begin on Holy Saturday morning. Pope Saint Pius V (r. 1566-72) issued a papal bull in 1566 forbidding any Mass to begin after noon; thus, observing the vigil on Holy Saturday morning was obligatory. The daytime vigil celebrations were, in part, caused by the fact that Holy Saturday was a day of strict fasting, and people fasted until after they received holy Communion which, with a nighttime vigil, was late.

The Moravians and Sunrise services: The village of Herrnhut, “The Lord’s Watch,” (in present day Germany) came about because on this day June 17, 1722 a little band of religious fugitives from Moravia (in the modern Czech Republic) asked Count Ludwig von Zinzendorf if they might settle on his land. The Count agreed. According to the Moravians (via Salem Congregation), the first sunrise service was held in Herrnhut, Germany in 1732. Then, before dawn, a collection of unmarried men met in a graveyard — called “God’s Acre” in the Moravian tradition — and worshiped Jesus as the sun rose. According to Woman’s Day, the following year everyone in the community joined these men in this form of worship, and it became an annual tradition.

The first of these sunrise services in America was held in the Moravian community of Winston-Salem, North Carolina in 1772, according to Time. The ceremony on April 9, 2023, marks its 251th Easter sunrise service.

The first sunrise service in Winston-Salem was held with largely the same traditions and customs as the German service 40 years earlier, according to Salem Congregation, the church that hosts the service. The congregation begins at 2 a.m., when the church band — now some 500 people — plays hymns throughout the town, both to remind listeners about the resurrection and to wake people up for the morning service. The first song played is “Sleepers, Wake!”, with its melody by Johann Sebastian Bach.

“There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.” — Harry S. Truman



  • CAT Survey Town Hall – There will be a Town Hall Meeting on Sunday, April 30th in Fellowship Hall to discuss the results of the CAT Survey. All are welcome. A brief written summary of the results is available at the church.
  • Pickle Ball!  Come on Tuesdays 11:00-12:30 on April 11th and April 18th in the Wesley Family Life Center. We will practice and play a game. Call Mary, 563-299-7050, if interested.
  • The Riverbend Bronze Handbell Ensemble will present a FREE concert with a free-will offering at Wesley on Saturday, April 29, at 2pm. Our Wesley Handbell Choir will join them for one piece and also play one solo piece. Riverbend Bronze is a premiere handbell ensemble that is based in the Quad Cities. The approximately 20-member ensemble last played at Wesley in 2017.


Holy Week Services

Maundy Thursday Service, April 6 @ 7:00 pm

Good Friday Service, April 7 @ 7:00 pm

Easter, April 9

8:00 am Chapel Service

9:00 am Celebration Service

11:00 am Traditional Service