In two short days it will be Holy Week. This means that as Christians, these are the final days of lent which lead us to Easter. Far too often we make a mad dash for Easter Sunday, but this year I’d like to encourage you to slow down. Why you may ask? Easter can’t happen without the days leading up, and we need those days to prepare our hearts and minds too.
Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday, as we remember Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. For those of us that go to church this Sunday morning, will wave palm branches, and sing Hosanna. We’ll be caught up in the joy of the day and not think much about the journey that Jesus is about to begin. Those closest to Jesus, the disciples, are clueless about what is going to happen to their beloved friend and teacher, despite his many warnings and we’re not all that different. Despite all of our flaws and failings, Jesus knowingly and willingly continues down this road that will lead to his death. With all the hosannas and waves of our palm branches, we tend not to think about the meaning of this day or the week ahead.
As we read through the Gospels on Holy Monday and Tuesday we’re being prepared for what’s to come. Jesus will be anointed at Bethany, foreshadowing what will happen to him in death. Jesus will again warn his discipes, and us as the readers, of what is coming. On of his friends will betray him and set the final course of events into action. As if all of this wasn’t enough, another friend will come to deny he ever knew him, his friend and swore he’d never deny and would defend. Thursday will come, and church attendance will go down drastically, before it’s great spike on Easter Sunday.
Thursday is Maundy, or Commandment, Thursday. We often skip up and call this day Monday Thirsday or some funny derivation, because we’re clueless to what this word preceding Thirsday is. It’s word coming from Middle English, Old French (mandé), and Latin (mandatum) which essentially means commandment. It was this day that Jesus washed the disciples feet, gave the commandment to love one another, and to remember him in gathering together by sharing the Lord’s Supper. Throughout the year we celebrate this meal, and forget about its humble beginnings. A shared meal with friends made sacred with the sharing of bread and wine on the eve of the worst day in Jesus’ human life.
We now come to Friday, that we call Good Friday. It is on this day we remember with solemn hearts the sacrifice that Jesus, makes for us out of God’s great love for each of us. On this day we take time to be humbled, sometimes to the point if tears, of the great sacrifice Jesus makes for us. We slow down and realize that the story of Christianity isn’t just about a cute baby in a stable or just about resurrection. It is on this day that we remember that the story is about life, AND death, AND new life.
Let us prepare our hearts and minds for the joy of the Easter Sunday, even when it may be a solemn journey along the way.