Holy Week begins this Sunday, April 9th as Christ followers all over the world observe and celebrate Palm Sunday and cross the threshold into the week of Jesus’ Passion.
To much of the world it will be just another week. Cable news networks will squawk about government investigations and stream “breaking news” banners across screens. World governments will flex muscle and attempt to wield influence over war torn and troubled lands. Everyday folk will get up, go to work and try to make a better life for themselves and their families. Children will go to school. Spring will make another run at grabbing a toehold and offering weather to match the calendar. And, in the midst of all that and more, we will remember and revisit the path our Savior walked during his last days and hours in Jerusalem.
It’s a pilgrimage journey we are invited to make during this week.Pilgrimage implies going to the sites and locations where events transpired in order to understand and reflect on their implications. Most of us will do this via Scripture encounter, some through visits in real geography. It’s not how we go, but that we go that matters. That we go to the spontaneous Parade of Palms, to the Upper Room of the Last Supper, the eerie quiet of Gethsemane, the glowing fires of Jesus’ trumped up trial, and along the Via Dolorosa to Calvary. It’s not a journey to be hurried, or a trek to be tackled; it’s a week to be lived. It’s a week to allow the sights and sounds of Jesus’ passion to penetrate our hearing and interrupt our routine. It’s a week to take note of God’s love for all of creation – all of humankind.
Listen to and for the words of this week. Let their haunting message reach you:
- Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
- “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.”
- “This is my body, which is given for you.”
- “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”
- “But see, the one who betrays me . . . his hand is on the table.”
- “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”
- “I am deeply grieved . . . stay awake with me”
- “. . .if it is possible, let this cup pass from me . . “
- “. . not what I want but what you want.”
- “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.”
- “I do not know the man!”
- “Are you the King of the Jews?”
- “Crucify Him!”
- “…save yourself! If you’re the Son of God…”
- “I am thirsty.”
- “My God, my God, why have your forsaken me?”
- “It is finished.”
- “Truly this man was God’s Son!”
It’s only as we’ve walked this path, only as we’ve listened to this story that we are ready for what comes next. Yes, this is more than just another week . . .