A Different Path Through Holy Week

Tomorrow we begin Holy Week.  Volumes have been written about the week.  Much of the Gospel of John takes place in the week before Jesus’ death.  In the 4th century, the Spanish pilgrim Egeria reported what she experienced when visiting Jerusalem during Holy Week.  Over the centuries, Christian churches began to translate Egeria’s experiences into their practice.  Following the Reformation, many of these liturgies fell by the wayside.  Then, in the aftermath of World War II, the Anglican Society of St. John the Evangelist published  a little book, “An American Holy Week Manual.”  Today you’ll find Holy Week services scheduled throughout the week in many Episcopal Churches–some hold services every day.
We clergy types encourage folks to enter deeply into the week.  Often, by that we mean “go to as many services as you can.”  And yet that is often not possible.  We lead busy lives.  Sometimes, even an hour on a Sunday is hard to squeeze into the calendar.  And yet….
Just as I believe that weekly gathering at the table is important in providing the space and time and nutrients necessary both to grow into the people God has created us to be and into the Body of Christ, so also I believe that it is important to let Holy Week seep into our very flesh and bones.
Tomorrow–Palm Sunday–the presider will say the Palm Sunday collect.  It goes like this:
“Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace.”
Here’s another path through Holy Week:
PALM SUNDAY:  Hold your own Palm Sunday procession.  Imagine God entering the walled off places in your life.  Sing Hosannas celebrating God’s light and healing presence in your life.

MONDAY IN HOLY WEEK:  Imagine walking with Jesus into Jerusalem.  Notice the fig trees in your life that are not bearing fruit.  Is it time for a pruning?

TUESDAY IN HOLY WEEK:  Today, the clergy in our diocese will renew their ordination vows. Take a look at the vows we all share–our baptismal covenant.  You can find them in the prayer book and also on line.  Please join me as we together renew our vows.

WEDNESDAY IN HOLY WEEK:  According to the Gospels, Jesus spent this day quietly at the Bethany home of Mary and Martha and Lazurus.  Maybe it was a day of preparation.  Maybe it was a day of reflection.  Take time today to sit in silence.  Take time today to give thanks.

MAUNDY THURSDAY:  Gather a group of friends together.  Share a celebratory meal.  Then head off to church.  If that’s not possible, call a friend or write a letter and renew the ties that bind.

GOOD FRIDAY:  How do you get your news–the morning paper?  Facebook?  A news website like Realpolitics?  The Radio?  On your e-mail pager?  Where do you see Christ being crucified today?

HOLY SATURDAY:  The deed is done.  The tomb is sealed.  There’s an emptiness to the day.  What are the empty places in your life?  What are the stones that need to be rolled away?

“Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace.”
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