We call it Holy Week even though it’s not a phrase or description that’s found in scripture. It’s a tag we’ve created to help us understand and make sense out of such pain, such loss, such salvation. The word for “holy” occurs in both the Old and New Testaments and is translated as holy, sacred, and even saints (the “holy ones”). It can refer to people or things or events and it simply means something or someone or some event dedicated to God. Objects in the temple were called holy because they could only be used in worship to God. People are called holy (saints) not because they are sinful but because they realize they are now living in service to God and God alone. This week is Holy because we are remembering the events in the life of Jesus that changed creation forever – events that are changing us this week as well.
The poet Ann Weems (Kneeling in Jerusalem) captures the challenge of walking through the few remaining days of this week.
Holy is the week
Holy, consecrate, belonging to God
We move from hosannas to horror with the predictable ease
of those who know not what they do.
Our hosannas sung,
our palms waved,
let us go with passion into this week.
It is a time to curse fig trees that do not yield fruit.
It is a time to cleanse our temples of any blasphemy.
It is a time to greet Jesus as the Lord’s Anointed One,
to lavishly break our alabaster
and pour perfume out for him
without counting the cost.
It is a time for preparation.
The time to give thanks and break bread is upon us.
The time to give thanks and drink of the cup is imminent.
Eat, drink, remember:
On this night of nights, each one must ask,
as we dip our bread in the wine,
“Is it I?”
And on that darkest of days, each of us must stand
beneath the tree
and watch the dying
if we are to be there
when the stone is rolled away.
The only road to Easter morning
is through the unrelenting shadows of that Friday.
Only then will the alleluias be sung;
only then will the dancing begin.
Ann Weems is right.
Dancing is just around the corner but we still have work to do.
The work of reflection.
The work of remembering and repenting.
The work of giving thanks and asking better questions.
The work of Good Friday
Work that requires being still and quiet. Difficult but less frenzied work.
The work of Holy Week.
Join us in remembering and celebrating this Holy Week! Reserve your seat at one of our Maundy Thursday or Easter Services!