How is this week holy?

     by Heidi Regier Kreider, WDC Conference Minister

During this Holy Week, I pray for WDC congregations, pastors, chaplains and other leaders as you plan and participate in special events focusing on Jesus’ passion and resurrection.

Last Sunday, some of you observed Palm Sunday with a procession of palm branches, or Gospel readings of Jesus’ passion.  On Maundy Thursday some will share in the Lord’s Supper or practice foot-washing; perhaps you will participate in a community Good Friday worship service, or host a “stations of the cross” service.  Saturday may be a time for a prayer vigil or decorating Easter eggs.  And, of course, Sunday is a day of celebration, with a sunrise service or special breakfast, festive worship with lots of music and flowers, a delicious Easter dinner and hunting Easter eggs or throwing colorful cascarones (egg-shells filled with confetti) as signs of life and joy!

In many ways, however, Holy Week makes no sense in our society.  Amidst relentless news of politics and current events, attractions of consumerism and entertainment, and the demands of daily life, why set aside a “holy” week?  Why interrupt today’s “real” world to focus on a crucifixion that took place centuries ago and an audacious claim of resurrection?

In response, I believe that we observe Holy Week because it does point to the heart of reality, with a truth that is authentic, radical and hopeful in today’s world:

·         In Jesus’ suffering, God stands in solidarity with humanity. With Jesus, we open ourselves to acknowledge the pain, vulnerability, and messiness of life.  We join Jesus in companionship with all who suffer, and we lament together with all creation as it groans for redemption.

·         In Jesus’ death, God meets hatred with love, rather than taking revenge or killing others in defense. With Jesus, we draw on the resources of God’s goodness which is stronger than evil.  We join Jesus in overcoming evil by working for justice, loving enemies, and risking reconciliation.

·         In Jesus’ resurrection, God invites us into a new and radical embrace of life.  With Jesus, we acknowledge our wounds yet celebrate that life is stronger than death.  We join Jesus in persistently proclaiming hope and joining God’s work in the world through the power of the Holy Spirit.

This Holy Week, may we renew our commitment to stand in solidarity with those who suffer, to meet hatred with love, and to embrace life in all its fullness.   May we recognize and follow the risen Christ in today’s world.