Monday, March 29, 2010

Remebering the story of Holy Week

Yesterday at Chain of Lakes we started Holy Week by focusing on Jesus getting on a colt, traveling down the Mount of Olives, and entering Jerusalem. As I shared in my sermon—a link to the sermon can be found on our web site,—this Palm Sunday story is one of the most powerful in the Scriptures. By getting on a colt, Jesus displayed that he would be a different kind of leader—a servant leader.

During worship yesterday we also waved our palms and welcomed Jesus, who was being played by a young girl; we sang traditional Palm Sunday hymns, hymns that tax the high register of our vocal chords. Amidst our celebration the sun shone brightly into our sanctuary at the Lino Lakes Senior Center. For me our worship experience was a beautiful way to start Holy Week.

Holy Week is the most important week of the year for our life of faith. Drilled down to its essential core, Holy Week is a story about Jesus’ last days. Though there are more, in the church we primarily remember three stories during this week. We remember Jesus sharing himself through what we call the Lord’s Supper as he celebrated Passover with his disciples; we remember Jesus choosing to go to the cross to die; we remember how Jesus was raised from the dead.

Celebrated rightly you and I will be different people next Monday morning than when we opened our eyes for the first time yesterday morning. We will be different because we’ve remembered and even encountered the story of Jesus’ last days.

However to be different people, you and I have to choose intentionally to celebrate the events of this week. We must make the choice because we have plenty to distract us.

The world around us will not stop or really encourage our choice to remember the story. The sports industry is operating at a high level. Next Monday morning I’m guessing that the local Minneapolis/St. Paul newspapers will be full of information about the Minnesota Twins first regular season game that will be played that night. I’m guessing we will also read about the NCAA championship basketball game that will be played next Monday night. It wouldn’t surprise me if many of my Catholic brothers and sisters will be checking scores of the NCAA games this Saturday as they celebrate Easter Vigil.

The media will undoubtedly stop and pause to remember Holy Week. But as of today the media’s version of Holy Week revolves around the Pope and his response to the priest abuse crisis. We will most likely see a picture or two in next Monday’s newspapers, but those pictures will be about the church’s celebration of the story, not about the last week of Jesus life.

The world is not stopping this week. To remember we have to choose to remember and even encounter Jesus’ final week on earth.

It’s a powerful story. No matter how often we’ve read or heard the story, it’s worth our attention this week. At Chain of Lakes I encouraged everyone to read Luke’s chronicling of Holy Week. A link to this devotion can also be found on our congregation’s web site.

If we follow the story we open ourselves up to new possibilities. Have a powerful Holy Week!

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