In the week to come, we will enter the final days of Lent that we refer to as Holy Week. From Palm Sunday to Holy Saturday, we will see and hear a great deal. It is a week, which points to the heart of our faith in God and to the heart of God’s faithfulness to us, all of which are found in what we mean by grace.
Growing up, I did not hear much about Holy Week. We would celebrate the “Hosannas” of Palm Sunday with tremendous joy. We would ponder the depths of Jesus’ death on the cross, where the light of Christ goes out. We would look forward to singing “Alleluia” on Easter morning. All the while, we did not talk much about Holy Week, and how all of those days are bound together.
Taking out a magnifying glass and looking at each of those days individually is one thing, and helpful, but it is quite another to line them up next to one another. In one week, we see and hear all of the joy and all of the pain of this world. We see that Jesus experiences so much in one week’s time.
All of these aspects of life are found in Holy Week, from celebration to grief. Jesus listens to the shouts of support and to the silence of solitude. He has to face the power of the religious authorities and the political concerns of the Roman officials. He speaks prophetic words, and he is swept away in the crowd’s condemning words. There is hope and rejection, courage and failure, embracement and abandonment. It is what we find in the midst of this condensed week that speaks to the heart of our faith.
Throughout Holy Week, we discover the enduring love of God, which goes with us throughout all of life. We find Jesus with us and for us, wherever we are, and we hear this echoed throughout the world on Easter. This is what we find in Jesus, throughout Holy Week and throughout all of our weeks. There is forgiveness for us that endures, justice that stands up for us, and a love that redefines how we live.
This Holy Week, we will gather and we will remember all that took place during that first week. On Sunday, March 20, our children will wave palm fronds and we will shout “Hosanna!” On Thursday, March 24, we will gather in our upper room, which we call the sanctuary, at 6:00 p.m. for the bread and the cup. On Friday, we will return in order to sit together in the darkness of Good Friday at 6:00 p.m. This will prepare us for the light of Easter morning, knowing that the Light of the World still burns bright!