The Beauty of Holy Week
Growing up, Holy Week was not a big focus for my family. The faith tradition that I grew up in did not offer the typical Lenten services like Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, or Good Friday. We did not talk about the season of Lent or even use the term “Holy Week”. As far as I knew, Lent was something that only my Catholic friends talked about, and the only thing I knew about Good Friday is sometimes they canceled school because of it.
The first time I ever experienced one of the services was years later after I joined a United Methodist Church. I remember going to my first Good Friday service and being in awe of the raw emotion that I felt after seeing the altar stripped, the last words of Jesus spoken, and the words of the hymn “Were You There” ringing in the sanctuary. I also remember the service ending in darkness, with no “hope” to be offered.
Was it pleasant? Not really. But it was necessary. More importantly, I remember experiencing Easter Sunday in a way I never had. What a celebration! What started as darkness and silence on Friday was now joy and light on Sunday morning. This is the beauty of Holy Week. Experiencing the journey of Jesus’ last days on earth. Celebrating the sacrament of holy communion on Maundy Thursday, experiencing the darkness of Good Friday, and the joy and triumph that comes with Easter Sunday. I find that my own Easter experience isn’t complete without Holy Week!
Holy Week starts with Palm Sunday, which is this Sunday. This week in worship we are continuing our sermon series Hope: Ashes to Life as we journey into Jerusalem and encounter Jesus’ triumphal entry. I encourage all of you to consider making Holy Week a part of your own Easter experience.
See you on Sunday!