Upon the printing of this newsletter article, the church will have walked more than half of its journey through Lent, which means that by the time we print the next newsletter, we will already be taking our final steps on this journey, walking through the final days of Holy Week. It is the week that redefines every other week, returning us to the heart of our faith, where Jesus is celebrated, criticized, condemned, and crucified. We walk these final steps together by gathering for worship on several occasions during Holy Week.
We join our brothers and sisters around the world during this week, commemorating these days by reflecting on their meaning for our lives and this world. We begin on Palm Sunday, gathering on the Lord’s Day, as we do each week, waving palms and joining our voices together singing “Hallelujah!” Jesus will ride into Jerusalem with grand celebration, but our thanksgiving will not yet know what the rest of the week will hold, as Palm Sunday becomes Passion Sunday as well.
Later in the week, we will come together again on Maundy Thursday, eating together as we always do on Thursdays, but we will then walk up to the sanctuary from the Coleman Fellowship Hall to gather around the Table that redefines all of our other tables. At 6:00 p.m., we will join together for communion, sharing the bread and the cup, like Jesus did with his disciples many years ago. We will then leave that sanctuary of refuge strangely aware that after Jesus left that room with his disciples, he did not have any place of refuge to seek.
On Good Friday, we will gather again at 6:00 p.m. in order to remember the gravest event of Holy Week. We will not stand at a distance from the cross; rather, we will stand beside it. We will remember how the Light of the World went out, and then we will stand in the darkness of that day, for it is by standing in the darkness that we are surprised yet again by the coming of the light.
We will stand in the darkness of Good Friday, so that we are surprised by the light of Easter, bringing life to each of us, where brokenness is mended and hope is renewed. Holy Week invites us to gather with each other on days and at times that are unfamiliar to our routine, allowing the heart of our faith to interrupt our daily living. It interrupts our lives, so that we are renewed, like the light moving and changing as it pours through the stained-glass windows. As the light changes, it illuminates something more, something different, and perhaps something deeper than we normally see. During Holy Week, we gather together around the events and the grace of the life of Jesus that binds us together every other week.