We will soon enter the holiest of holy times in the Church year. Holy week. More than a way of remembering, we participate in the events of our Lord’s Passion during Holy Week. We begin with Palm Sunday and shouts of “Hosanna!”. Those shouts quickly become the shouts of “Crucify Him”.
During Holy Week, we do not ask what the cross does for us, we ask what the cross says about us.
The cross tells the truth of our sinfulness, and it tells the truth of God’s grace-filled love.
Christians all over the world gather for worship and ponder our Lord’s last days here on earth, Jesus gathering with the disciples for their last meal together, their betrayal and eventual retreat from Jesus, and the death of our Lord.
There is an old saying, “Don’t put roses on the cross too soon ”. What that means is, that we need to experience and understand the necessity of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, and our culpability in it, to fully appreciate the joy of Easter morning.
We are Easter people! Meaning that we always know what happens on Easter morning, even as we are walking through Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. We always know of God’s victory over death, the devil, and darkness. It means, that we always live as people of hope. But, even so, we are people who know the tragedy of our sin. Not only the tragedy of it reflected in Jesus’ death, but also the tragedy our sin causes every day.
During this holy time, through Scripture, prayer, music, silence, and the Sacrament of Holy Communion, we look honestly at our sinfulness and deeply at the truth that we fall short of God’s intended ways. The other truth is that our God is more interested in drawing us into relationship than in punishment. So, God grants us a way. A way to forgiveness and to relationship with him.
That way is Jesus. During this time of Lent, we have been renewed, refreshed, and restored by God’s word, by the Sacraments, and by the gift of GATHERING TOGETHER! During Holy Week we continue to be restored, not only in our heads, but in our hearts and souls as well.
The words of the hymn, Beneath the Cross of Jesus come to mind:
“Upon the cross of Jesus, my eye at times can see, The very dying form of one who suffered there for me. And from my contrite heart, with tears, two wonders I confess: The wonder of God’s glorious love, and my unworthiness.”
May God’s blessed assurance sustain you and keep you in this time ahead. May you be refreshed and restored by God’s abundant promises. And on that glorious Easter morn, I look forward to proclaiming with you: “Christ is risen, Christ is risen indeed!”