The Essentials of Holy Week

So it is Holy Week or maybe it is Spring Break or maybe it is just vacation, but whatever it is, it means the Easter is quickly approaching. I supposed I could play the way back machine and talk about how Holy Week when I was growing up meant going to church each day and focusing on an event of the Passion that day, but I will refrain. However, I will say that the experience of the worshipping community has been greatly altered in how we experience Easter.

More and more, churches are scaling back their Holy Week celebrations because of a lack of interest. Perhaps people’s calendars or work prevents them from attending such services, but increasingly, we see churches providing two worship experiences, Palm/Passion Sunday and Easter. Unfortunately, our spiritual journeys are stunted when we do not tend to the full Passion narrative and journey with Jesus to the Cross and then experience the Empty Tomb.

Now this does not mean we need to celebrate the Stations of the Cross everyday either, clearly there is a balance we can accomplish. So with this in mind, I will encourage each of you to trace the essentials of Holy Week or the Passion for yourselves. Perhaps each day, read a passage of the Passion narrative found in Mark and spend some time contemplating over it.

Or find a service to attend, whether at GPC or elsewhere, that helps you enter into the Passion story.

  • During the Maundy Thursday Service at 7:30 pm, we journey from the Last Supper to the Cross with Jesus.
  • Or head down to First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia at noon on Good Friday and experience the Passion narrative.
  • Or if you are more moved by expressions of art, try the Stations of the Cross art exhibit at West Kensington Ministry at 3 pm on Friday.
  • Or perhaps you are moved by the idea of joining in a social justice action, in which case, Heeding God’s Call is also following the Stations of the Cross and a Vigil in Germantown at 4 pm on Friday.
  • Finally, maybe solitude is your means of discernment, in which case, join us in the Easter Vigil on Saturday.

For many of us, Easter has just become an experience, but in order to truly understand that experience we must relearn how to “do Easter.” Find time this week to “do” Holy Week, so we can “do Easter” on Sunday.