Dear Beloveds of God,
As many of you will already know, this Sunday, Palm/Passion Sunday begins Holy Week. Holy Week is the week wherein we, as the Christian church, journey through the culmination of our Lenten season. More specifically than that, it is also the week wherein we, as Lutherans, make special recognition of the true heart of our God, in the person of Christ Jesus walking through his humble preparations for death on the cross.
Holy is a word that we often use in and around the church, and often without paying much attention to its meaning. Essentially it is a word that we use to signify that which is God’s, in contrast to that which is not God’s. Holiness, the degree to which a thing is Holy… or not, is the measure of proximity to God. In that way, Holy week is the week of God; it is the week of proximity to God, the week through which we come to know God most clearly.
Were we to come together in worship and prayer every day of the week during Holy Week, we could slowly and deliberately trace Jesus’ activity in the final days of his mortal life, from his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, through his humble acts of service to his disciples, into his final hours with his closest friends and his words of wisdom, comfort, and prophecy, and ending in his death on the cross and burial in a tomb.
These are the moments that are set aside as most Holy in all of scripture and in the whole life of the church. The closest to God we can get, the truest picture of the heart of God we have, is there on the cross and in the humble moments leading up to it. And it is for these moments and in celebration of these moments, that we have set aside this week as Holy, it is for this glimpse at the heart of God that we have spent the last 5 weeks in humble, penitent prayer, self-reflection, and preparation, so that we might be most receptive to these moments when God is most intimately revealed to us.
The opportunity lays before you in these days to walk this path with Jesus, and to experience these moments of God’s humble self-revelation in community. There are readings set aside for every day of Holy week, and, as always, we will gather as a community in worship on Palm/Passion Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday ahead of the celebration of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday.
Palm/Passion Sunday will be a dramatic journey, in summary, of Jesus journey from triumphant entry into Jerusalem to his death on the cross and will happen during our regularly scheduled worship services on Sunday morning, 8:45 and 11 AM,
Holy Monday marks Jesus anointing by Mary in John 12:1-11
On Holy Tuesday we read of Jesus foretelling his own death and the significance of it, and we recognize that Jesus invites us into the same journey in John 12:20-36
On Holy Wednesday we remember, in humility, that it was an act of human betrayal that begins the series of events that will culminate in Jesus’ arrest, trial and crucifixion in John 13:21-32
Maundy Thursday continues our worship together as we will gather at Mt Carmel at 7 PM for the celebration of Jesus last supper with his disciples.
On Good Friday, (‘Good’ in this case meaning that which is of God and, therefore, Holy) we will retrace the events around the end of Jesus’ life. We will gather together at SLOUMC at 7PM and end the night having remembered the painful, gruesome death of Jesus on the cross.
Holy Saturday is the final day of the Holy week and is the day for the vigil, to remember Jesus’ grace, love, and peace, and to mourn his death at the hands of human brokenness even as we await the discovery of the empty tomb.
Whatever form your worship and preparation takes during Holy Week, I pray that you would find a closer relationship with the God that walks this path to death over and again all for the sake of the love of you.
May you find peace and Holiness...