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NORTHRIDGE CHURCH MARKS BEGINNING OF HOLY WEEK.

Byline: Holly Andres Staff Writer

Clutching and waving palm branches, the congregation at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church on Sunday will join the world in a week of remembrance of Jesus' last earthly days before the Resurrection.

Palm Sunday begins the weeklong anticipation of Easter Sunday on April 23.

``Palm Sunday is the day we celebrate Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem,'' said the Rev. Richard Knowlton.

``The people were excited by his arrival. They broke tree branches to lay on his path. They waved the palms in the air in celebration. Jesus was coming to Jerusalem with his disciples for Passover. He knew what was going to happen to him in Jerusalem, and yet he went,'' he said. ``We know the message of Palm Sunday is the coming of our Lord into our lives.''

The Palm Sunday service at Prince of Peace will begin with the congregation's gathering on the church patio. They will read Psalm 118, a song of thanksgiving and rejoicing. Singing ``All Glory Laud and Honor,'' a hymm dating from the 17th century, the group will parade into the church and and lay palms leaves on the altar before being seated.

The Northridge church didn't need a floral supplier or to ask the city for palm tree trimmings. Florence Naatzjust raided her own palm tree at home.

``We've always relied on the congregation for the palms. We already had the taller palms on the church property trimmed, but there are smaller trees where we can get some, also,'' said Naatz, a member of PPLC for 35 years.

The palm motif and what it implies will also be carried out in miniature. Another member of the church, Ardis Brauer, has woven parts of the palm branches into small crosses. The crosses will be given out as mementos of this year's Palm Sunday.

While many churches have Palm Sunday services, Knowlton said that over the past 25 years, the Lutheran Church has shifted away from observing a strictly Palm Sunday service. Keeping the focus for this Sunday's worship service on the verses in Mark 11:1-11 has an important impact for this congregation.

``We're doing something different here because the congregation wanted to. The trend has been to call this Sunday ``Passion Sunday,'' which combines the other services like Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. We will focus solely on Christ's entry into Jerusalem,'' said Knowlton.

Continuing with observing other Holy Week services on their traditional days, the congregation also decided to hold a Maundy Thursday dinner worship service.

A traditional ceremony for this day, washing the feet of others, will be performed on a volunteer basis during the service. The purpose behind the foot washing, found in John 13, is to remind people to be humble and perform service to others, Knowlton said.

Palm Sunday can be thought of as the day that sets the stage for the events leading up to the Crucifixion of Jesus, which is observed on Good Friday, Knowlton said. For Naatz, who said she has a Jewish background, Palm Sunday's message is hope.

``Jesus was crucified and he came back on Easter. Knowing that, we have a hope for eternal life.''

HOLY WEEK SERVICES at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 9440 Balboa Blvd., Northridge: 9 a.m. Palm Sunday service; 6 p.m. Maundy Thursday dinner worship service. Reservations are requested for the service. A combined Good Friday service will be held at 7:30 p.m. at St. Andrews Lutheran Church, 15520 Sherman Way, Van Nuys. Easter sunrise service will be held at 6:30 a.m. and a second service at 9 a.m. April 23 at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church. Call (818) 886-1324.

CAPTION(S):

photo, box

Photo: The Rev. Richard Knowlton and Flo Naatz prepare Prince of Peace Lutheran Church for Palm Sunday, commemorating Jesus' entry into Jerusalem.

Phil McCarten/Staff Photographer

Box: HOLY WEEK SERVICES (see text)
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 15, 2000
Words:649
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