Here we are at the beginning of Holy Week. The most important week in the christian calendar. The week where christians walk the footsteps of Jesus, from Palm Sunday through to Easter Sunday. Holy Week is an experience. It’s not a religious practice to achieve, counting up how many times we can go to church in the space of one week, but rather an experience where we are invited to walk the way of the cross, through to the joy of Easter, with the resurrection as we celebrate next Sunday. The day we celebrate new life, a new beginning, a transformation from death to life.
If we choose to enter into the experience of Holy Week, we will find that God meets us in some of the toughest stuff we ever face in life. The Holy Week journey is one of love, service, fear, condemnation, betrayal, denial, despair, grief, loneliness, desolation and ultimately the brutality of the crucifixion. The Holy Week journey identifies with the darkest aspects of humanity and allows us to real with God. Worship and prayer in Holy week can enter into the depths of human experience and we are reminded that God is somehow with us in those experiences.
But of course it doesn’t end with the cross. By next Sunday, we celebrate the joy and hope of the resurrection – that Jesus has beaten death and is risen. Next Sunday is a day of pure joy, celebration and hope. But just as his first followers struggled with it, we too perhaps find this message of hope, one which is difficult to comprehend or accept as true.
As one of the Year 6 children who was visiting the chapel recently said, with wide open eyes and a look of amazement on his face, ‘Did Jesus actually come alive again? Really? WoW!’
So, in amongst all the business of this last week of term, may it be especially holy as well. Maybe take a moment to visit the chapel, or join in with the Archbishop’s Pilgrimage Prayers on Wednesday when he comes to visit.
Or quite simply be a person who demonstrates the power and hope of the resurrection as we continue to together live out our christian values – in the words of Desmond Tutu:
Goodness is stronger than evil;
Love is stronger than hate;
Light is stronger than darkness;
Life is stronger than death;
Victory is ours through Him who loves us.