Holy Week 2021 – Day 1
The Day: Palm Sunday – The Triumphal Entry
The Story: read one or more of the following portions of the gospels – Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1–11, Luke 19:28–44, John 12:9–19
Maybe you grew up in a tradition where every year on this Sunday you were given a palm branch as you entered the sanctuary, or maybe you made palm leaf crosses as your craft in Sunday school. Or maybe you remember randomly seeing a few people with these leaf things hanging off their rear-view mirror around Easter. Palm Sunday is the day that marks the celebration and recognition of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
In this scene Jesus instructs a couple of his disciples to locate a donkey/colt for his entry, capturing what would have been familiar to religious leaders as a reference to Zechariah’s words, “See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (9:9) Most believe this is Jesus’ way of declaration as the King of Israel. According to the gospel writers Jesus rode into Jerusalem as the people gathered, waving small branches and singing a portion of Psalm 118, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord.”
Historically the donkey would have been viewed as a humble animal, a lowly and peaceful way to enter a city, while a king would have most likely arrived on a horse, a symbol of nobility and strength. The palm branch was a common symbol in the Roman culture as a sign of victory, where during certain ceremonies a returning victor would have worn something with images of palms representing the arrival of peace. In ancient Egyptian culture the palm was a part of funeral processions and represented eternal life. According to the first book of Kings, Solomon had palms carved into the walls of the temple, “And he carved all the walls of the house round about with carved figures of cherubim and palm trees and open flowers, within and without.” Later, in the book of Revelation would reference palms in John’s description of a scene before the throne of the Lord. This display that would have represented both peace and victory while challenging the common images of a king and authority would have undoubtedly sparked commentary and concern from the religious leaders observing Jesus.
In observation of Palm Sunday I would guess the most common message/reflection would be to highlight the stark contrast of the coming week. We begin Holy Week with praise just as that day the follower of Jesus, through their praise, honored Jesus’ position in their lives, only to, within a few days, be calling for his execution. Perhaps a sermon would remind us how quick the disciples were to obey a request to acquire a donkey, only to betray, scatter, hide and denounce Jesus in a week’s time.
We are prone to the same contradictions. We sway this way and that, getting caught up and sidetracked. Perhaps that is what this day can offer you, a reminder of God’s grace in the midst of our fickleness, an opportunity to explore the pockets of our own life that we segment off from God’s presence, or maybe a chance to apologize to someone for a moment of hypocrisy, where you, for whatever reason, allowed a friend to too soon become a foe.
In some traditions palms are given out when you enter for worship and then waved during services, but then collected at the end to be used during Ash Wednesday when the season of Lent returns. What is used for praise will later be used as a reminder of our sin and mortality. I am struck by how often I declare a moment or season as good or bad only to later discover God’s purpose in both labels. Jesus announces his Kingship by entering on a humble donkey, palm branches are waved in celebration and honor while the Messiah was more expected to arrive through a militant victory. What was anticipated finally arrives but in very different packaging, yet with slightly familiar bows.
Take a moment to…
– Remember a season in your life where your actions were fickle, where you were caught up by the crowd, in either direction. What did you learn from that season?
– Consider when both praise and slander have emerged from your mouth. Would some be confused by how you treat them from one moment to the next?
-Go outside, and find items to fashion a cross – a palm, a branch, a trimming from a plant. Maybe this can just remind you of something you used to do in Sunday School. Or consider the idea of a living piece forming what will later in our week represent a moment of darkness and death.
Holy Week 2021 – Day 2
The Day: Holy Monday
The Story: read one or more of the following portions of the gospels – Matthew 21:12-22, Mark 11:12-19, Luke 19:45-48
The gospels are not in total alignment on the timeline of events the day following Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem. Some traditions focus on the the anointing of Jesus at Bethany, others reflect on the Jesus “Cursing the Fig Tree”, while most take this day to remember the moment Jesus “Cleanses the Temple.” Most churches might simply post or remind their community to reflect or read on these scenes from Jesus, while a few Eastern Orthodox Churches set aside specific hours to conduct readings from certain portions of each of the Gospels that day.
If you have been following me for a while you may remember our conversation about the lessons from the scene where Jesus cleanses the temple, flipping tables and driving out those that defiled the temple by taking advantage of others. You may also remember me sharing the point Pastor Albert Tate made as he reminded us to, “Notice that Jesus flips tables, but not people.” Such a beautiful reminder. I expanded on that thought by illuminating how little culturally actually changed for the oppressors and the oppressors after Jesus’ display. I considered that it would take many years to see how the investment in twelve men would unfold to change the world.
Systems and structures are unavoidable. They are a natural output from living in any type of formed community. Jesus did not set out to destroy the temple, or those that worshipped or even abused that space. Instead, he illuminated the injustice while continuing his commitment to lay down his life for both the oppressed and the oppressors. He destroyed his body as an invitation for all to experience grace and compassion, not in a form of blatant mutiny or a military coup. He had the long game in mind.
Jesus doesn’t attack our personal preferences or allegiances, he allows us the space to explore and follow how we feel moved, yet he clearly has an opinion on when those alignments erase, disregard or defame the humanity of those we disagree with.
Reflect on the systems and structures you are a part of – not if they are “right” or “wrong” or “more right than another,” but consider if you place your trust, security, or energy in them over God’s Kingdom. Consider if those systems produce more peace, patience, kindness, or tolerance. We will all have systems and structures we are a part of, but keeping the rank of our allegiances in proper order is vital to displaying our faith.
Take a moment to…
– Journal/write a prayer for system, company or institution you disagree or struggle with.
– Invite God to do a “temple cleansing” in your own life, bringing clarity to your personal allegiances.
– Do something kind (send an encouraging text, drop off a note, bring a cup of coffee, etc.) to someone you politically or religiously disagree with. Remember a moment of kindness is not an act of condoning or a conceding of your own beliefs.
Holy Week 2021 – Day 3
The Day: Holy Tuesday
The Story: read one or more of the following portions of the gospels – Matthew 21:23-26:5, Mark 11:27-14:2, Luke 20:1-22:2, John 12:37-50
Holy Tuesday, on rare occasion referenced as “Fig Tuesday,” is the day of Holy Week when many reflect on Jesus’ time at the Mount of Olives. Services often use selective readings, prayers and messages about Jesus cursing the fig tree, weeping over Jerusalem, or other various teachings and sayings of Jesus attributed to this time-frame. Some denominations offer communion during these services, others practice public readings of certain portions of the gospels at certain hours.
In the Methodist Book of Worship, this prayer if offered to mark Tuesday of Holy Week:
“Almighty, everlasting God, grant us so perfectly to follow the passion of our Lord, that we may obtain the help and pardon of his all-sufficient grace; through him who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.”
I met with someone the other day. Both they and their husband had been raised Anglican. She remarked about how her husband missed liturgy and other aspects of tradition, and while she didn’t say anything otherwise regarding herself, she kinda did an, “Eh….I’m good either way,” head tilt thing.
For those of us familiar with creeds or recited prayers, we can fall on either side of the “I miss them” or “I can’t live without them” fence. For me there is something unifying about a body of believers saying, together, the same statements, affirming our collective faith. I also think written and congregational prayers laid the foundation for both my own personal prayer life and public praying. What better teacher for how to pray, then praying together something written out? But I understand the other side of these moments.
When we hear or say the same things over and over we can become numb. It becomes routine, and we risk, through repetition, diluting the depth. I would offer a counter-balance. I think the error comes in the expectation of the practice more than in the risk that it bores us. When we expect an explosion of wonder or awe at every church service or gathering, we are setting ourselves up for a misunderstood faith.
When we read stories of burning bushes, walking on water, or the blind being healed, it can be too easy to translate that into an every day expectation. If something made it into one of the 66 books of the Bible, during a largely illiterate period of history, it is most likely because that author wanted to communicate something that pointed to a non-everyday occasion. People didn’t just go around writing all willy nilly back then, cause most people couldn’t write.
Centuries later, we are reading these stories and attempting to retrieve their experiences verses allowing God to unfold His presence in His way in our time now. Don’t put God in a liturgical box, nor a charismatic (by our own definition) box. That’s not to say that reciting creeds, or praying corporately is “it,” yet more it reminds us to be mindful not to limit God’s interaction.
Take a moment to…
– Take something outside of your tradition. If you listen to a certain type of worship music, take a moment to listen to something different, from a different time or a different style.
– Google “Prayers for Holy Week,” or use the prayer referenced above, find a Christian creed or a liturgical prayer and read it out loud.
Holy Week 2021 – Day 4
The Day: Holy Wednesday
The Story: read one or more of the following portions of the gospels – Matthew 21:23-26:5, Mark 14:3-11, Luke 22:3-6
Also known as Spy Wednesday, this is the day most traditions reflect on either the betrayal by Judas or the anointing of Jesus during his visit to Bethany. On the Wednesday before his death, Jesus visited the house of Simon. As he sat at the supper table with his disciples, a woman named Mary anointed Jesus with a costly oil. The disciples were indignant, asking why the oil was not instead sold and the money given to the poor. Following the scene, Judas visits the Sanhedrin and offers to deliver Jesus to them in exchange for money. Scholars speculate on the timing of these events, but typically it is these are the moments marked by this portion of Holy Week. Holy Wednesday is typically observed through readings, prayers and services.
The timeline of Jesus’ ministry is often a subject of debate for theologians and scholars. For some, those small details among the four gospels are critical to validate through alignment. Regardless of the specific timing of each of these events, Holy Week’s gift of reminders still stand. So much is recorded from Jesus’ three short years of public ministry, and it is easy to see the flurry of activity that seemed to constantly surround Jesus. Throughout his ministry years we read about how he took time to remove himself, capturing moments to be still and to hear from God. However, more often than not, these moments were interrupted or cut short by an emerging crowds, or the consistent questions from his disciples. In my exhausted moments from being pulling in every direction or feeling like I would explode if one more person needed one more thing from me…I get a spiritual fist bump from Jesus. He must have been exhausted.
When I was in grad school therapy was free, best. thing. ever. I was about half way through when for various reasons I had hit a wall, I was unraveling. I started therapy about about three or four sessions in my therapist gave me an assignment. “I have noticed that when I come out to the lobby to meet you you are always working on something. You look like you are doing school work or catching up on emails, or dealing with something on the phone. But always something. I would like you to try something. When you come to your next session try not really doing anything. That doesn’t mean you can’t pick up a book or a magazine. Just try to do nothing that checks something off a list.” Sounded silly to me. Why, when I would have fifteen or twenty minutes to wait would I not get something done. Do you know how much can get done in fifteen minutes?! Plus I had two small kids at home, and a church to serve, that fifteen minutes was prime for knocking out small things that would free up time later.
The problem with that logic is, the small things just keep coming. The idea that somehow I can “get ahead of” the life’s pace is kinda silly. Getting stuff done is valuable, efficiency is a skill, but the illusion of getting all the stuff or being efficient to the point the clock will grant me extra time if simply that, an illusion. I arrived for my next session. My mind rattled off the handful of tasks I could tackle, but I didn’t. I tried to do nothing. Awkwardly I looked around. Thumbed through a few magazines and I felt like I wasted eons of time. Next session I did the same thing. Next session, again. Over time I discovered I love looking through magazines backwards. So random I know.
The habit of being still, the practice of doing nothing, can lead to amazing revelations, the birth of great ideas, and also just to being still itself. Crafting space in your schedule to sit, to reflect, to breathe, to listen is essential to your spiritual health. Every one has to figure out what that looks like for them, but no one should avoid the practice.
Some scholars think Jesus did very little the Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week, citing his possible exhaustion. I hope they are right. I love the reminder that bot the creator and the created need a break.
Take a moment to…
– Think about your schedule. Do you build in time for stillness?
– Consider your daily habits. What would it look like to build in a habit of stillness, of time with God?
– See how long you can do nothing today. Yes, you most likely have things you have to get done, or responsibilities you need to attend to, but see if you can “escape” for fifteen, twenty, maybe thirty minutes.
Holy Week 2021 – Day 5
The Day: Maundy Thursday
The Story: read one or more of the following portions of the gospels – Matthew 26:17-75, Mark 14:3-11, Luke 22:3-6, John 13:1-18:37
Also known as Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday and Thursday of Mysteries, this may be my second to final favorite day of Holy Week. We called it Maundy Thursday. “Maundy” is a variation of the word “mandatum” or “commandment.” (“When He spoke to his disciples in the upper room that night, He said: “A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34)
Commemorating the Last Supper, as Jesus practiced a tradition himself by celebrating the Jewish Passover with his disciples. This is the DaVinci painting, the Dan Brown book subject, the image that most likely comes to mind when we think of one of the final evenings of Jesus’ life. Denominations reflect on this moment in so many different ways. Most of them participate in Holy Communion or the washing of feet as reminders of Jesus’ own actions, practicing the traditions that Jesus practiced himself. Some churches invite Jewish leaders to teach about Passover, or offer a Seder meal. With no shortage of symbols and rituals to reenact during this day, this may be one of the most participatory days of Holy Week.
When I was a part of a Methodist church we celebrated Maundy Thursday with a service that evening. We would enter the sanctuary to see a table near the pulpit, sometimes it was a low-laying table where we would sit on pillows, other times it was a simple every-day table. Our services might reflect on Jesus’ words, or comments from the disciples. We may be reminded of Jesus’ commission/command to serve and love one another, or challenged through a conversation about Judas and his betrayal. The evening would conclude with the congregation seated at the table in rounds of 12 people at a time, where we would pass the cup and the bread in communion. It’s still impossible for me to serve communion without reciting the words that we used on Maundy Thursday, and each week for communion:
“On the night Christ was betrayed he took bread, broke it and said, ‘This is my body, broken for you.’ Likewise, he took the cup, ‘This is my blood, shed for you.’ For whenever you take this bread or drink from this cup you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” – 1 Corinthians 11
It was a sweet moment. But later I would have another memory attached to this tradition. Years later, on staff at another church, we had a new staff member join our small team. As a staff, we attended monthly gatherings with other pastors and church leaders from across our city. Each month a different church would host. This new team member’s first time joining us, we were in line fixing our plates when she noticed glass carafes of water sitting on each table. Since the containers were not your usual water pitcher or plastic bottles, she asked me, “What is that water on the table for?”
Now I rarely have moments as good as this one, I am not quick witted or clever in a speedy way, so I can only attribute this awesome moment to the Lord. “Oh, we wash each others feet before we eat at these meetings.” I can barely keep a straight face as I type this today, but that day the Holy Spirit granted me acting skills like never before. Sheer terror came over this woman’s face. “What!? Why would we do that?” I replied, “As a reminder of how Jesus washed his disciple’s feet. It’s a reminder for us to serve one another. Have you never done that before?” Somehow, again my only explanation is God’s presence, our other co-worker chimed in as he realized my prank. “Oh yeah, but don’t worry. You don’t have to do it. When they come around to wash your feet just tell them no, and they will go to the next person.” Still in character we took our seats. As others got settled in, and things were beginning to get started you could physically see her fear grow. When the host of the meeting took the stage to officially start, I leaned over, “I’m kidding. It’s water for you to drink.”
Seriously, some of my finest work.
I think for many people, practicing certain rituals and traditions can be very uncomfortable. Even growing up in certain systems or denominations you can still be uncomfortable during certain liturgical moments. But discomfort was present in the Upper Room on Holy Thursday too. Not only do we read about Peter’s discomfort having Jesus wash his feet, but can you imagine the tension as Jesus shares about his upcoming betrayal and death. A celebration that has been a Jewish tradition for centuries, a night of remembrance, food, prayers, wine, and Jesus, fully embracing the meaning of that evening, further reveals his own mission. Things had to be uncomfortable.
When things are uncomfortable we shift, we wiggle, we try to figure out how to adjust to get back to comfort. The disciples did the same that night. They asked questions, they protested, they argued, they wondered. And undeterred Jesus welcomes the tension and with warnings and commands he serves them and symbolically reveals to them himself as a sacrifice.
Faith in Jesus is both comforting and uncomfortable. We are stretched while being held. We walk in tension as God unfolds the path. Jesus understood this was not about life or death but about extending the former through the latter.
Take a moment to…
– Think about where there is tension in your life. There might be adjustments that need to be made, but there also might be a space where you simply need to rest in the tension for a season. Consider why you are uncomfortable and ask God to help you trust Him in the tension.
– Take a moment to privately practice communion, praying the above words from Corinthians before you break bread or sip from a cup, or symbolically soak and wash your own feet in remembrance of Christ’s servitude. Yes, it may seem awkward and cheesy, but get a little uncomfortable.
Go all out…
– Research how to prepare a traditional Seder meal. (Google can help.) Commemorate Passover as Jesus did thousands of years ago.
– I’m going to be honest, this one is a stretch for me. Ask someone if you can wash their feet. Yeah, this will feel super awkward. But you can explain, “I’m trying to practice living more like Jesus. Today is Holy Thursday and many traditions celebrate this day with foot washing just as Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. I’m trying to get out of my comfort zone and when I considered someone I want to symbolically show my love, gratitude and desire to serve and help walk through life, I thought of you. Can I do this totally awkward thing of washing your feet?”
– Last week I mentioned, in preparation for today, inviting a few friends over for a meal, maybe 11 guests if possible. You don’t have to announce why, although you can. You don’t have to read the story of the Last Supper, although you can. But, if you extended an invitation and guests arrive, as you gather take a few internal reflexive moments to sit back and consider the evening of Maundy Thursday. Consider the tension along with the laughter. Consider the smiles along with the unknown ahead. Imagine the kinship, the brotherhood that would have been present, even in the midst of a betrayer. Consider to yourself all these things over your evening meal with friends.
Holy Week 2021 – Day 6
The Day: Good Friday
The Story: read one or more of the following portions of the gospels – Matthew 27:1-16, Mark 15:1-47, Luke 23:1-56, John 18:28-19:42
This, aside from Easter, is probably the most well known moment of Holy Week. Not only because most people have a day off, but because it is the day we remember the trial, crucifixion, death and burial of Jesus. Some say the term “good” used for Good Friday is a reflection of the sense of “good” as in “holy” or “pious,” others believe it is a misuse of what they think is the original term “God Friday.” Other traditions reflect on this day at “Long Friday.” Each denomination, church and structure celebrates Good Friday differently. People will spend the day in silence, maybe incorporate fasting. Others have services throughout the day reflecting on certain readings, and others have evening services held in silence. The focus is on the final moments of Christ’s life, often his words, the stations of the cross, or other aspects of this long and difficult dat are the focus. Often groups will focus on the last several hours of Christ’s life, taking time between noon and 3 to reflect on his seven final sayings from the cross. There may be worship services, passion plays, and so many more rituals and moments that remind us of all that Good Friday represents.
While I continue to learn and grow in appreciation for each of the days of Holy Week I would say that Good Friday has always been my favorite. The somber mood, the seriousness, the weight of the day is precious to me. I’m sure there are correlation for my affection for this day with my personality, my natural bend, or maybe it’s the connection I experience reflecting on my own darkest moments. I appreciate the gravity of Good Friday.
We tend to reflect on Easter with such color and praise, which makes total sense, but I think I appreciate a moment where we can acknowledge the struggle, the difficulty, the pain and the agony that so often comes before the gifts of newness, hope and redemption. I think we culturally tend to avoid the grave, we want out of the mess, while this entire week we have been reminded Jesus willingly released himself to the mess. When we reference Jesus as “Emmanuel”/“God with us,” we typically associate that with the joys of the Christmas season and his birth, but God is “with us” all the way through.
Each personality responds to gravity differently, not the physical law, but the weightiness of an event or moment. From life experiences, lessons, and temperaments we each respond to darkness uniquely. But this reality, these tendencies, does not change the fact that “in this life you will have trouble,” and Christ’s promise through “Take heart! I have overcome the world!” is not a guarantee of avoidance of pain but an opportunity to allow Christ to help shape our response.
In his last words from the cross Christ makes a declaration:
Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:28-30)
The phrase in Greek means, “to bring to an end, to complete, to accomplish.” It is not in spite of pain and struggle and darkness, it is through, at moments even because of, the pain and struggle and darkness, that the work is accomplished.
Take a moment to…
– Consider what struggle you are trying to avoid or ignore. What parts of your life would you prefer to sweep under the rug rather than face them?
– As a reminder of the three hours Christ spent on the cross, if possible, spend a three hour block of time in silence, not just avoiding conversation, but try to remove yourself from any distractions.
– Light 7 candles, over the course of a three hour time reflect on one of the last 7 phrases from Christ every 30 minutes, extinguishing one candle at the end of each phrase, ending in silence and darkness.
Holy Week 2021 – Day 7
The Day: Holy Saturday
The Story: Matthew 27:62-66
With the occasional denomination that would conduct a daily mass through Holy Week, most traditions do very little observation on Holy Saturday. This day is set aside to remind us of the time Jesus’ body lay in the tomb. Viewing Good Friday as a funeral service, the following day is marked for mourning. For most traditions the altar is stripped bare, or shrouded in black, and communion is rarely offered on this day. For many the fast from Good Friday may continue, and there may be simple services with readings. This may be the least participatory day of Holy Week.
I had a student that spent two summers working in Alaska during his college years. Working through a government program he was tasked with marking abandoned gold mines and tracking a specific species of falcons. A unique summer job to say the least. When he would visit during his brief moments home he would talk about the wilderness, and specifically about the darkness. He would explain that with zero light pollution, it was unlike any darkness he had ever experienced. “It’s not like turning the light off in a room, it’s more a darkness you can feel. And when we talk about wilderness it’s different. We are thinking a hike in the woods, but when you are in total darkness, in total wilderness, there is a presence and pressure unlike anything else.”
Alaska is on my bucket list, but I doubt any tour I take, or hiking trail I find, will fully capture what he experienced. When I reflect on the hours Jesus spent in a sealed tomb I imagine that type of wilderness darkness. I recognize Easter is soon approaching, and sunrise offers light, but Thomas Fuller’s phrase, “The darkest hour is just before the dawn,” comes to life all the more when I pause to reflect on Holy Saturday.
Take a moment to…
– Reflect on some of your darkest moments. Don’t quickly rush to think on how they resolved, or even the lessons you learned, but take time to consider them in all their darkness, with all their weight; then turn your attention to God’s presence in those moments.
– Remember I mentioned that black poster-board last week? One of my favorite traditions was how we blacked out the beautiful windows of the chapel. We did our best to create darkness, to cover every inch. The next morning, Easter Sunday, we would conduct a sunrise service and that same covering would be removed after opening prayers. We would “arrive at the tomb,” just as the women did that first Easter Sunday, but we had to endure the darkness first. If you have an appropriate space, cover the windows, try to create a space with as little light as possible and pause for a moment to pray in that space, leaving the covering up until tomorrow morning.
Holy Week 2021 – Day 8
The Day: Easter
The Story: read one or more of the following portions of the gospels – Matthew 28:1-20, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-53, John 20:1-21:25
I would imagine most of us are familiar with Easter services. Maybe you got a little extra dressed up, there was special music, extra flowers, much more pomp and tons more circumstance. Churches prepare for months across most all traditions, this is when you highlight your biggest and brightest of all the things. And you should, it’s Easter! This day celebrates the point, death is conquered, it is a day about new life, about resurrection. Some churches have sunrise services, reflecting on the scene where the women arrive to an empty tomb. To list the various ways the Church practices the remembrance of Easter would require endless volumes of readings and rituals and symbols. This is the big day.
The first senior pastor I served under had a tradition he brought to his congregations for Holy Week. He had a wooden cross fashioned, about 6ft tall, built to stand in front of the altar. On Palm Sunday we would let the kid’s parade in from their Sunday school classes, waving palm branches as they came forward to lay them at the foot of the cross. Later that day he would take the palms and attach them all over the cross, covering the entire cross. Then it would be set out in front of the front doors for all to see the rest of the day. On Good Friday, when you arrived for service, the cross was bare. No more palms. But he had a request, everyone was asked to bring some type of flower or greenery on Easter Sunday. As we gathered for services we would fill the cross again with all the flowers and greenery people had brought. Totally covered in tons of color and life we would set the cross outside once again. What was stripped bare had life again, and life abundant.
Perhaps one of the most stirring lines from the gospel of Luke is delivered during the first Easter Sunday:
“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!”
It’s that question every time, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” I spend so much energy and effort in things already gone, dramas that do not bring life, arguments that bare no fruit. Do not waste time searching for the living among the dead. The cross is an invitation to life.
Take a moment to…
– Buy some fresh flowers, or bring some in from your garden. Find something to remind you of newness of life.
– Give someone flowers.
– If you opted for the pasteboard or covered windows, go into that space, pause and ask you thank God for the gift of both Good Friday AND Easter begin to peel away what is blocking the light. Take a moment as the light floods your space.