Holy Week

As April begins, we focus our attention on Easter.  Our tendency is to do as the disciples did that resurrection morning when the ladies returned from the empty tomb and reported the news.  The disciples raced to the empty tomb to see for themselves.  Don’t we have a natural tendency to do the same?  When we think about Easter, our minds go directly to the resurrection and an empty tomb – and they should.

But always remember that there would be no empty tomb apart from the terrible cross.  As we move toward Easter and the celebration of the resurrection, may we pass by the cross on the way and pause.  May we take in the weight of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.
That is the opportunity that the Holy Week services afford.  On Thursday night, April 6th, we will gather for a reflective time of worship and intentional consideration of the sacrifice Jesus made for us.  This service takes on the atmosphere of the upper room on that last night before Jesus went to the cross.  As he gathered his disciples in that room, he prepared them for what was to come and then he took the very familiar Seder meal to illustrate that he would be the Pascal lamb and the sacrifice for the sins of all.  On Maundy Thursday we too will observe communion together as a means of remembrance.

I have been asked numerous times why we call Friday before Easter, Good Friday.  That is the day we remember Jesus’ torturous death on the cross.  The one and only son of God died for us on that day.  What is good about that?  The answer . . . his death brings life to us.  All the love God shows us came to full fruition on that cross.  In that way, it is very good for us.
On that day, we will observe a musical presentation of Jesus’ seven last words from the cross.  Traditionally, a service on Good Friday is called a Tenebrae service.  This will be a very somber service as we reflect on the death of Jesus and the moment, he breathed his last on the cross.  This service will end in silence and darkness as we exit the building remembering Jesus’ body being placed in the borrowed tomb.

Easter Sunday, then, will be a celebration of the resurrection.  We will gather on Easter morning to share in the excitement of the disciples when they learned the Savior had risen.  The message that day will be titled, “Come and See.”  I encourage you to bring family and friends to worship as we celebrate the forgiveness and salvation Jesus offers us through his death and resurrection.

As we move past Easter, remember that resurrection does not just affect one Sunday out of the year.  Resurrection should impact our every day!  We who were dead in our transgressions and sin have been made alive in Christ Jesus through his resurrection.  May each of us strive to live resurrected lives each day!