What comes to mind when you think of Holy Week? I encourage you not to jump too quickly to Easter. Yes, Holy Week culminates in the wonderful celebration of the risen Christ. But it starts with the great irony of the Palm Sunday celebration. The people who were welcoming Jesus that Sunday had no real idea of what he was about to endure. They had a different idea of their messianic king.
The Maundy Thursday worship service at 6:30 PM on April 1 is an opportunity to relive the warmth and reflection that Jesus shared in his last supper with the disciples. This service, and every service in which we celebrate holy communion, is an opportunity to engage a concept known as anamnesis. Anamnesis refers to our recalling the passion of Christ in a way that makes it as real now as it was in its historical context. Through anamnesis, we can more fully understand that Jesus suffered and died for people of all generations, including those not yet alive. His life, suffering, death and resurrection are not confined to the records of history. Rather, these events continue to transform us as we recall them and relive them.
Good Friday worship at 6:30 PM on April 2 is an opportunity to relive how God suffered at the hands of humanity to end the cycle of human violence forever. We realize that our human hearts contribute to God’s suffering, and by accepting this reality we gain a deep humility. We thereby recognize our need for this savior who loves us more than life as we know it.
It is only after we have embraced the full “memory” of the events of Holy Week that we can celebrate Easter with the rich, abiding joy that is the result of resurrection.
So, please make Holy Week services a priority this year, either via livestream or in person. Start this Sunday with our Palm Sunday services. The scriptures are Isaiah 50:4-9a and Mark 11: 1-11. My message is entitled “Where Is This Headed?” As always, our worship team appreciates your prayers and support. We especially appreciate your sharing our Holy Week events with friends and community members who are without a church home. This is a perfect time to invite people to worship at Grace.
I remain so very grateful for our staff at Grace, and for all of you faithful members who serve Christ every day by serving our community. May God richly bless each of you as we approach another Holy Week!
Pastor Steve Hart