Holy Week begins with a parade, filled with excitement and joy…lots of energy…children laughing and playing in the streets as people shout “Hosanna” (“Pray, save us) to Jesus as he humbly rides a donkey.
You can feel tension mounting as conflict arises among the Pharisees and scribes about what to do about Jesus, the One whom the crowd adores. Jesus’s disciples begin to fall away although some remain close.
By Thursday, Jesus, the humble servant, washes their feet and takes symbols from the Passover and explains the new covenant, his body and blood, and invites them to take, eat, and remember.
Thursday evening, Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane, another moment of awe. He asks for the cup of suffering to be removed, but surrenders completely, the King who chooses to give up his life for his people. His arrest and imprisonment lead us to the horror of Friday.
After 39 brutal lashes, Jesus carries his cross through the streets of Jerusalem. As his hands and feet are nailed to the Cross, I lose my breath again, hearing his words of love: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
With his death, we believe that the story is over; the stone is rolled to seal the tomb. My breath will be taken away again with the dawn of Easter morning when we hear the words again: “Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed!”
This Holy Week in worship we will walk all the way to Gethsemane, the Cross, and to the Empty Tomb. Open yourself to the power of Christ this week; God wants to move you deeply and take your breath away!