Holy Week, the last week of Lent, is our annual remembrance of the days leading up to Jesus’ death. We begin with Palm Sunday (marking Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem), then move to Maundy Thursday (the Last Supper shared with his disciples), then to Good Friday (the crucifixion and death of Jesus), and finally to Holy Saturday (a day of quiet and stillness when Jesus lay in the tomb).
But this can be a problematic journey for many of us: we know the story, we recognize all the familiar lines, we let our eyes gloss over the words and the words run off our hearts. We aren’t scandalized by the story anymore—and we ought to be. The story of Holy Week leads us to the dark and silent grave, the moment which can still catch us off-guard in a miraculous way, the moment in which we catch our breath and also a spark of hope, looking for God’s purposes to be fulfilled and God's Kingdom to be established.
The invitation of Holy Week is to find ourselves caught up in the story anew, in this moment that contains all moments. Let the story wash over you, like a huge wave, knocking you off your feet, breaking you down, rinsing you out, washing you back up on shore, leaving you in awe and sorrow and gratitude and love and hope and faith.
As we live through Palm Sunday, may we truly recognize and welcome Jesus for the king he is, not the king we want him to be. As we gather around a table to share the Last Supper, may we clearly understand what it means to be part of this new covenant and to be a servant like Jesus. As we keep watch in Gethsemane may we learn to watch with Jesus, to stay with him, and to learn from his anguish the lessons of love. As we suffer through the agony of Good Friday, may we see how the Kingdom of God comes through the power of the lamb who was slain. As we sit in the darkness of Holy Saturday, may we more fully understand what it means to be delivered from the power of the grave. As we enter into the suffering of Jesus, may we begin to be shaped into Christ's likeness, may the character of God take root in us as a community, may the Spirit of God enliven us and embolden us in the work of the Kingdom. Amen.