For the Love of Holy Week

In the last couple of days, a caring church member overheard me saying that I love Holy Week, to which the response was something like, “Really?!? I would think you would find it exhausting.” 

For those of us who work in the church, these latter weeks in Lent are a bit exhausting and not just for the pastors. Our support staff is cranking out bulletins for nine worship services from Palm Sunday through Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. And this year the Annual Report and a new seasonal Messenger are in production at the same time. Our writing, editing, producing, worship leading, choral conducting and preaching is no doubt kicked into high gear as we prepare. But I still love Holy Week. We have the privilege of leading the congregation into the depths of God’s love for us.

As the songs of the Suffering Servant from the Old Testament become revealed in Jesus of Nazareth, as Jesus’ life takes on more adversity and intensity with the powers of this world, and as he makes his holy way toward a very human death, God’s love for the human family is revealed to us in its fullest. There is no place we can go, no depth to which we can plunge, no farthest shore to which we can flee, that God is not with us. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. What could possibly be more meaningful than to gather for worship again and again in the span of a week to remember, give thanks and stand in awe of God’s wondrous love?

To journey with Jesus to the depths of betrayal, denial and crucifixion also has a way of raising our spirits to new heights at Easter’s dawn. Holy Week liturgy raises Easter’s call to worship, “The Lord is risen; he is risen indeed!” to ring with a more exuberant joy and resonant truth, as we recommit to live as Easter people by the love and power of God.