Holy Week is the week between Palm Sunday and Easter. We design daily vigils to help us get into the story of Jesus’s death and resurrection. Here are three reasons to give it a try:
1) Your body wants to get in the mix with Jesus.
In our time and place, we can be so stuck in virtual worlds that keep us in our heads. It doesn’t help that for the past few hundred years many Christian traditions have emphasized cognitive belief and doctrine over lives of prayer and service and community. Thank God for St. Patrick and the Celts that we celebrated last week—their earthy/bodily expressions of faith call us back to a more integrated life. Holy Week gives us the chance to physically engage the death-to-life story that informs all of creation toward wholeness and hope.
Physically getting out the door every day for Jesus for a week can enlighten our emotions and cognitions, too. Our feelings can be influenced by fears and preferences that keep our schedules small and limited, in a spiritual sense. Even if our schedules are full of stuff, it may be employer-serving or self-serving stuff that is just geared toward survival. A week of Jesus-serving stuff can bring new color to our internal landscapes. We might get unlocked and expanded in new ways. My friends in AA say that doing the same thing all the time will give us the same results. So it’s good to disrupt our physical and emotional status quo. We might experience a healing touch from God that we didn’t know was possible. Our bodies crave that newness of life.
2) It helps to identify with God in his identification with us.
The whole point of Jesus is God’s great desire to meet us where we are. Can we be found? God comes in a body, in a particular time and place, to communicate his nearness and presence in our struggle—that he was tempted in all ways like we are (Hebrews 4:15). He stops at nothing to demonstrate his love for us. IMHO we need that love to get in our faces! We need to see it and at least try to understand it, though it will always be beyond our comprehension.
Nothing reveals it like the crucifixion…the whole story of friendship, betrayal, humiliation, torture, and death, human and divine. We need to go all the way to the silence and darkness of the grave to experience that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ our Savior (Romans 8:38-39). Sitting in that grave on Friday night and Saturday can remind us that no darkness or silence will separate us from God’s love. Ever. Nothing we face can separate us from God. He is present to lead us through everything at all times. We can experience that in all moments all year, but Holy Week is a special opportunity to see it anew—that God made himself to be like us so we can be like him and with him forever, just like Jesus prayed before he died (John 17).
3) It leads to resurrection.
The story doesn’t end in darkness and silence. It gives way to triumphant victory. Like our teaching pastor, Dr. Gwen White said recently, we need to elongate the moments of success and goodness in our lives. It changes our brains! It helps us to see the reality that Jesus is leading us through it all and literally re-creating the world. That is what’s coming. Easter is a mind-blowing victory for everyone. Complete and finished by the work of God. If you liked the Eagles parade, it’s just a little taste of the joy and togetherness that is coming, and even present now in the seeds of new life in us. We have such great and untapped capacity for worship and community. We meet at Lemon Hill at sunrise on Easter morning to experience it again, to tell stories about the glimpses we see now of the future that is coming. So don’t miss the opportunity to rise up with Jesus with us this year. It will be different for you than it was last year. The more you can be present to the worst of it, the more you can hold the best of it. And you are not alone on the journey.
If you’re interested in checking out more about Holy Week visit: