Journey through Holy Week
This weekend we begin the end of our Lenten journey that will take us through the events of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Our services will begin with waving of palm branches, shouts of, "Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!" and singing one of my all time favorite hymns "All Glory, Laud and Honor." I wait the whole other 51 Sundays of the year for the once-a-year occasion of belting out, "All glory, laud and honor to you redeemer king."
This year at our Palm Sunday services we will read through the passion narrative in Mark's gospel. Mark's gospel is known for being a fast-paced, always on the edge of your seat account of Jesus' life, ministry, death and resurrection. "Immediately" is one of Mark's favorite words.
As I have slowed down to read, reflect and study anew Mark's account of the last week of Jesus' life, I have been struck once again by the power of it. The story of the Jesus' anointing at Bethany (Mark 14:3-9) with which the passion narrative begins is a beautiful story of preparing Jesus' body for burial - a task that wouldn't be able to be completed when his body was put into the tomb because of the quickly approaching Sabbath. The woman would head to the tomb at dawn on Easter morning to complete the task of anointing Jesus' body.
From beginning to end, the story of Holy Week is the story of God's love for us going to all lengths to do for us what we could not possibly accomplish on our own. We see this most specifically as Jesus takes Barabbas' place when the crowds shout for Pilate to release Barabbas and crucify Jesus instead. As you hear the story and participate in the retelling of it, I invite you to step into it and take your place among the crowds who call for Jesus' crucifixion, the bystanders who mock him throughout and the disciples who flee. Experience the story as the story of God's love for you and Jesus Christ taking your sin and your punishment upon himself. In the midst of this fast-paced narrative, slow down to hear God speaking to you and to us in the our time and place.
Also, I invite you to make it a priority to worship this Holy Week. I know it's spring break for many of our families. I also know busy schedules of work, family and life can make worshiping both Thursday and Friday a challenge. Yet, we call this week "Holy Week" because it is a week that is "set apart" and like none other.
So, I encourage you to set it apart in your lives. If you have young children who go to bed early, check out this blog post about about how to worship at home as a family on Maundy Thursday then participate in our Children's Service on Good Friday. If you're traveling, take a few moments to read the passion story in Mark 14 and 15 and pray each day. If you're in town, come worship! You won't regret it! Make our services Thursday and Friday a priority so that when we all come to Easter Sunday we can rejoice together in the richness of God's love for us and for the world.