Holy Week and Easter Worship in a time of physical distancing

Worship in a time of physical distancing

The following outline of liturgies for the Triduum or the Three-Day Feast:​​​

  • Maundy Thursday
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Vigil
  • Easter Sunday

is a proposal shared with you by the LWF Communion Office. It is a simplified form of many worshiping traditions within the Lutheran communion and our ecumenical heritage. There is nothing really that is new in this proposal.

In this time of pandemic when for many Holy Week and Easter worship services will take place online in homes, among a few or maybe only with a paper bulletin and alone, we as a communion are particularly called to keep our hearts united as we “watch and pray,” trusting that Christ always comes through locked doors. Our yearning for the time of gathering again physically in one place is an expression for our deep yearning for God.

The proposed liturgies can be adapted to many different contexts. They may be printed and distributed so that families can dedicate a small worship space in their home and pray and maybe sing together. They can be distributed online for similar use. They may serve as the basis for live-streamed worship that people can participate in with a bulletin from home. We have sometimes indicated options in the liturgies:

  • Option A for those who are live-streaming worship or have it pre-recorded, and
  • Option B for those who are alone at home with only a printed bulletin.

Of course, in some areas, unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic, it may still be possible to gather as usual. These liturgies have been expressly prepared for those situations where a physical gathering is impossible.

As you prepare for the liturgies, individuals and families can also prepare. Perhaps a special corner is set up in the home or room. A Bible, a candle, a cross, a bowl of water, and a hymn book will be helpful to have at hand. The liturgies that follow will describe ways that you can use these objects.

Note: These prayers are offered for use in the LWF member churches. You are free to translate them into your own language for local use. We would be grateful if you would let us know of such translations. Please contact Mr Stéphane Gallay

Editor: Dirk Lange, The Lutheran World Federation
Publication date: April 2020
Languages: English, German, Spanish, French, Swahili, Croatian