Pastor’s Corner (4/7/2022)
One of my favorite poets Ann Weems wrote a poem that sums up the experience of Holy Week. Her poem “Holy Week” begins:
Holy is the week…
Holy, consecrated, belonging to God…
We move from hosannas to horror
With the predictable ease
of those who know not what they do
Our hosannas sung
Our palms waved
Let us go with passion into this week.
Her poem resonates for me as we prepare to enter what I would venture to call the “holiest” of weeks in the church year. It can be so tempting to make the jump from Palm Sunday directly to Easter without passing through the events commemorated on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. We want to pass from the entry into Jerusalem to the glorious exit from the tomb without stopping in the Garden of Gethsemane or standing at the foot of the cross.
Throughout this Lenten season we have been led through the wilderness by Dana Trent with the expectation of discovering the gifts that arise from the journey. It is human nature to avoid pain and discomfort, but such avoidance robs us of the depth that those experiences can bring. The same is true for Holy Week. It is uncomfortable to listen to Jesus’ plaintive prayer in the Garden. It is also excruciating to stand at the foot of the cross as Jesus dies. And yet, these events bring depth to the experience of new life that comes on Easter Sunday.
I realize many people do not have the day off on Good Friday, but we schedule our service over the lunch hour to enable as many people to attend as possible. If this will not work for you I urge you to join us on Maundy Thursday where we will move through the events that led to the cross. We will gather for a light supper before the service. Following our meal we will gather for The Lord’s Supper and a Service of Shadows in which we re-live the events of Jesus’ final hours of his incarnate presence. Whether you are able to attend these services or not, you are invited to continue the journey with Dana Trent through the devotional The Gifts of Spiritual Wilderness. As is our custom here at FCC, you are also invited to participate in our 24-hour prayer vigil. This can be done here at FCC or in your own home. If you have not had an opportunity to do this before, this year might be a great time to dive in.
There are a variety of ways to make Holy Week a truly holy time of prayer, worship, and reflection. You will soon receive a postcard highlighting the events here at FCC during this holy time of year. We look forward to being a part of your journey as we all participate in the procession into Jerusalem, pass through the Garden, stand under the cross, and enter the empty tomb.
With eager anticipation and joy,
Poem “Holy Week” can be found in Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems, Westminster/John Knox Press, Louisville, KY. 1993.