Once again, we come to Holy Week.
There is a wonderful rhythm to the liturgical calendar. Advent prepares us for Christmas, Lent prepares us for Holy Week. And in between those seasons we celebrate special days like Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, and Christ the King Sunday.
This weekend Lent comes to end, and Holy Week begins and there is a particular rhythm to Holy Week. Palm Sunday celebrates the coming of Jesus to Jerusalem. It is celebratory; Jesus is rightfully worshiped as a king, though the people worshiping are not completely clear on why Jesus is to be worshiped. On this side of the cross, we also know he is going to Jerusalem to make atonement for our sins. This we also celebrate.
A few days pass and then it’s Maundy Thursday. This is a challenging and dark day. On this day we remember that Jesus is going to be betrayed by one of his disciples. When he is arrested, his friends will scatter. One of his best friends will deny he even knows Jesus, just to save his own skin. Jesus is utterly alone.
Between Thursday and Friday, Jesus is tried and questioned, and eventually he is brought before the people. The people, incited by their leaders, call for Jesus’ crucifixion. Pilate orders Jesus’ punishment and execution, and soon our Lord is hung between two thieves on Golgotha. His death comes but a few hours later.
Holy Week ends with the Great Easter Vigil, which many traditions make more of than Presbyterians typically do. The Vigil is a time for reflecting on the death of Jesus and his promise of Resurrection.
Holy Week can be an amazingly meaningful time. I encourage all who read this to make diligent effort to make the week more meaningful. This might mean attending special worship services. It could mean engaging in spiritual disciplines like prayer and fasting. Holy Week is a great time to become reacquainted with the gospels, especially the events of the week Jesus gave his life.
There are many ways to honor Christ’s sacrifice in the week ahead. Don’t let the rhythm of the coming days go so quickly that you miss out on a greater and deeper experience of Christ and his sufferings.