By Pastor James Clark
We are about to celebrate the most important week in the whole history of the human race. The name is HOLY WEEK. Holy Week and Easter are the most important days in the Christian year and tell the most basic and central story of our salvation. One of my disappointments in recent years has been the seeming lack of interest on the part of Christians to pay attention to that which is the basis of our faith. Holy Week tells the story of what God did in Jesus of Nazareth to bring humanity back into relationship with himself. Holy Week gives us the historical account of what Jesus did to show us God’s eternal love.
On Maundy Thursday we remember Jesus’ last meal with his disciples in the upper room and his giving us the Sacrament of Holy Communion. “On the night in which he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus Christ, took bread, blessed and broke it and gave to his disciples saying, ‘Take, eat this is my body given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In like manner after supper, he took a cup and when he had given thanks, gave it to them saying, ‘Drink from it all of you; this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this for the remembrance of me.’”
On Good Friday we remember the road Jesus walked to die for the sin of humanity. We hear the story of his passion, trial, condemnation and death. We walk his path of sorrow, pain and humiliation. In walking the Via Dolorosa (Way of Suffering, Path of Sorrow) with Jesus, we are able to (somewhat) experience what Jesus did and in so doing, gain a better awareness of the benefit in the sacrifice he made for us in laying down his life.
I encourage you to worship often in the coming Holy Week. Two services each on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday and four on Easter. No two services will be alike.
Maundy Thursday noon will be a Service of Healing with the laying on of hands. Maundy Thursday evening will be a traditional Maundy Thursday service that will end with the stripping of the altar. Holy Communion will be celebrated at both services.
Good Friday noon service will include hymns and scripture readings and contemplation of the cross. Good Friday evening will be the Tenebrae service with the dramatic dimming of the lights throughout. Both services will include the reading of the Passion according to St. John.
No Easter service is complete without the services of Holy Week. If an athletic team were to be awarded a championship trophy without having competed, they would have little or no true appreciation for receiving the
title. Easter is the trophy given to us by God’s grace because of Christ’s sacrifice for us. Holy Week and its worship opportunities allow us to appreciate all that he endured for us.
I invite and encourage you to participate in these moving and powerful experiences. They will lead you into a deeper joy and appreciation of your salvation.
Blessings and Peace.