There is nothing remarkable about this week, in that it will come and go like every other week has come and gone for thousands of years. Yet we call it Holy Week— a time set apart to remember a fragment of Christ’s life, starting with his entrance into Jerusalem and ending with his resurrection from the dead. To remember this week is to engage with the spiritual rhythm of celebration, grief, suffering, rejection and ultimate victory alongside Jesus. To remember this week is to immerse yourself in what really matters. It is to remember that the joy found in Christ’s death and resurrection far outweighs any pleasure the world can offer. It is to remember that Christ suffered on your behalf, and still suffers alongside you in your weakness. It is to remember the substance of your faith, the very thread that holds this universe together.
Nothing is special about this week yet everything is special about it.
And most of us are uncomfortable with the whole thing, so we stock up on candy and eggs and pretty Sunday dresses in an effort to avoid the reality of a murdered-then-resurrected Son of God. We stuff our Easter gifts with pastel-colored, cross-shaped confetti. We laugh and take pictures as the kids sing a cute rendition of Because He Lives. We cook meals and organize parties and hunt for eggs with our neighbors and friends. And we do all of it without once remembering.
Do not take a syringe to Holy Week and drain it of the substance that makes it holy. Instead, celebrate Jesus’s triumph as King as he walked into Jerusalem. Mourn his betrayal as Judas exchanged eternity for thirty pieces of silver. Soak in the grief of his crucifixion. Rejoice in his resurrection and victory over death. Laugh and paint and play and sing, but do it all while remembering. Remembering what matters. Remembering the substance, the holiness.
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. -1 Corinthians 1:17-18