Next week is Holy Week. Growing up I pretty much thought Holy Week meant Easter. I don’t ever remember going to a Good Friday service until I started working at CBC. So if I didn’t know about Good Friday, then all of the other days of Holy Week were definitely lost on me.
Perhaps you grew up not going to church or part of a tradition that shied away from the full experience of Holy Week. Over the past few years, I’ve found Holy Week to be an amazing time to better focus on Christ, his death and his resurrection. Obviously we can reflect on Christ’s death and resurrection any day of the year, but it is more special knowing that we’re joining in preparing for Easter with Christians all over the world. Except for the Orthodox, we’re not in sync this year.
So instead of rushing through next week in order to eat a chocolate bunny, wear a new dress or eat a big Easter lunch, perhaps you can take some time to reflect on Holy Week. To help you do that, here’s a little primer for what to focus on each day next week.
Palm Sunday actually got some play when I was growing up. Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. I’m pretty sure that I waved a palm branch during a church service at some point. Palm Sunday is a great day to reflect on the word “Hosanna,” which means save us. What are the things from which we need God to save us?
Holy Monday focuses on one of a few different Bible stories. One of the stories is Jesus cursing the fig tree. Peter was amazed that the tree Jesus cursed withered. Jesus told Peter that he would see even more amazing things. On Holy Monday we can think about all the amazing things we’ve seen God do in our lives, and trust that he’ll continue to blow our minds in the future.
Orthodox Christians use Holy Tuesday to focus on the Parable of the Ten Virgins. We should think about Jesus’ death and resurrection every day, but we should also be ready for Jesus’ return. We can’t be like the five virgins, fumbling around in the dark when Jesus is standing at the door.
Spy Wednesday is the cooler name for Holy Wednesday. Spy Wednesday is all about celebrating Jason Bourne, James Bond and Natasha Romanoff. That might be more entertaining, but probably not as impactful as remembering Judas. Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, potentially because Jesus didn’t sell an expensive bottle of perfume. Whatever his reasons, though, we can’t be too quick to judge Judas; I betray Jesus every day.
Maundy Thursday is all about the Last Supper. I’ve never been to a Maundy Thursday service, but I’ve heard it’s all about eating a meal together. I love eating, especially when I can spiritualize it. Maundy Thursday would be a great time to read John 13-17 and reflect on Jesus’ final words to his disciples.
Good Friday is great. Jesus died on a cross so that we could enter back into a right relationship with God. It’s hard to call our savior dying on a cross good, but when we remember what it accomplished it’s hard to see it as anything but Good.
Not a lot going on. Try to remember how the disciples felt, not knowing that Sunday was coming.
Dress nice. Go to church. Eat some peeps. Don’t buy a pet bunny for your child.
Next week I’ll write some reflections for each day of Holy Week, obviously with a nerdy theme. Easter celebrates the most important day in history, and we can prepare for it by making the most of Holy Week.