Lent and Easter arrive on the early side this year. Ash Wednesday fell on the same day as Valentine’s Day, and Easter will fall on April 1. A pastor friend of mine says he is going to preach on being “fools for Christ” (I Corinthians 4:10) this Easter Sunday since it coincides with April Fool’s Day. As you read this, we are already well on our way into our Lenten journey, and Holy Week will be here before we know it.
Between the “Hosannas” of Palm Sunday and the “Alleluias” of Easter, there are the voices of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday: “Lord, is it I?” “Crucify him, crucify him! “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Holy Week does not move directly from Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem to his triumphant resurrection from the dead. In between are the pivotal events of Jesus’ passion, his betrayal and suffering. In Holy Week we walk with Jesus from the gates of Jerusalem, through the doors of the upper room, into the Garden of Gethsemane, to the foot of the cross, and finally to the empty tomb. For without the mystery of the cross, there is no miracle of resurrection.
With this in mind, I invite you to make time during Holy Week to participate in some special worship opportunities that focus our thoughts on Jesus’ passion. Besides our worship services on Palm Sunday and Easter, I invite you to include the Maundy Thursday service in your Holy Week schedule. We will be observing a traditional Tenebrae, a “service of shadows,” in which we observe the Last Supper and remember in music and scripture the betrayal of Jesus. Again on Good Friday the sanctuary will be open from 11AM until 1PM for those who wish to spend time in prayer and contemplation of our Lord’s crucifixion.
I encourage you to invite your family and friends to come to worship with you, especially those who do not have a church home. May these days of Lent be times of meaningful prayer and preparation as we move toward Easter. And may the blessing of our crucified and risen Lord be yours as we complete our Lenten journey.