Happy Holy Monday, Friends!
“As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen” (Luke 19:36-37). On Sunday, the church celebrated Palm Sunday, the commemoration of the day when Jesus entered Jerusalem and was heralded by crowds as a king and lord. By Friday, these same crowds would taunt him and shout, “Crucify him!” Palm Sunday is also the first day of the week called holy. On (Maundy) Thursday, the church will celebrate the Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist. On (Good) Friday, the church will mark the passion and death of Jesus between two criminals. Finally, on (Easter) Sunday, the church will marvel at the profound fact that not even death could contain God.
More than 2,000 years removed from the actual events, it is easy for us to lose focus on the lived experience that this week encapsulates. For Jesus’ apostles and disciples, this week was a rollercoaster of emotions, from the joy of seeing your rabbi being welcomed triumphantly into the capital city to seeing him arrested, beaten, and nailed to a cross. The week would seem to end in the very real possibility that you would be the next one murdered. Then against all probability and logic, this man you have been following for several years returns to you and you see him, embrace him, and one person in your group touches the wounds in his wrists, feet, and side. Despite the best preaching and most well-executed liturgy, we cannot begin to recreate the experience of being there.
Many of us, me included, will mark this week doing church. We will gather, in-person or online, and hear readings we have heard before and experience a touch of sorrow on Good Friday and joy on Easter morning. But I challenge you: what can you do to celebrate and remember this Holy Week differently? Where can you serve? When can you give? Where can you be the hands and feet of our risen Lord?
Let us pray: Almighty God, whose Son suffered and died before he entered into glory, mercifully grant we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it the way of life and peace. We ask this through Jesus, our only savior and mediator. Amen. (Prayer adapted from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979).
Blessings, friends, on your week! Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.
PS. Holy Week involves many hours of planning, writing, music, design, and execution from dedicated ministry professionals, particularly clergy. Please remember to support and assist your clergy this week. They need it and deserve it!