Monday, March 25, 2013

Words for the week: preparing for Holy Week.

Preparing for Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Easter, I am immersed in a series of worship services.  Each of them hits a different tone -celebration, outpouring of love, grief, joy.  In the office, we toggle between them as we get ready for the week ahead.  Choosing hymns, we go from humming through the mournful "O Sacred Head Now Wounded" to bouncing along with "Christ the Lord is Risen today."  Planning the words for worship I read a Good Friday lament: "O My people, my church, what more could I have done for you, Answer me!"  Then I turn to the next service and there it is: resurrection and the traditional, joyous words: "Christ is arisen - he is risen indeed!"
The back and forth lead up to Easter can be quite jarring and Palm Sunday kicks it off.  We go from raising palms in honor of Jesus (Hosanna!) to being a voice in the angry mob (Crucify him!).   During the week we will experience the grief of betrayal, the finality of death, and the joy of resurrection.  It becomes apparent that all these experiences - these emotions - are connected to one another.  They often don't move in as linear a fashion as we'd like.  Yet as we walk through them, something happens.  God's grace is woven through the fabric of time.  We find - much to our surprise - that by Easter morning there is less grief and more joy.  
I urge you to take part in the complete series of worship services for Holy Week, starting with Palm Sunday and including Maundy (commandment) Thursday and Good Friday, both at 7:30.  We will move through all these experiences - the highs and lows, and arrive together at the most amazing place of all: the empty tomb.
Peace and Joy,
Pastor Sarah

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