During Holy Week – which begins on Palm Sunday - we remember the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, and follow him through his suffering and death. At the Service of Shadows (Tenebrae) on Thursday night, we reflect on the last supper, serve communion and listen to the story of the arrest, trial, crucifixion and death of Jesus as we slowly extinguish the lights in the sanctuary. On Friday, we gather together with other churches at noon to reflect on the “seven last words” of Jesus as they come to us in the different gospels.
Relatively few people come to Holy Week services. It can be hard to take off work and weeknights are difficult for families with young children. Some folks hesitate to come to worship that is somber and even mournful, as we read the scriptures that describe the crucifixion. It may seem enough to “know” that Jesus died, and to wait for the celebration of Easter Sunday.
But I encourage you to come and experience the mystery of our Christian faith. The mystery that out of suffering, God brought redemption; that out of death, God brought life. This mystery is not something that can be fully understood. Explanations of why Christ suffered and died and how that helps us - his atonement – are many, and the church has never settled on one. But we don’t need to explain it to be able to feel sorrow over the death and suffering of Jesus and of the death and suffering in our world still. We don’t need to explain it to experience the hope and joy of his resurrection, and the hope and joy we know through the grace of God today.
So I hope to see you during Holy Week. If you are not able to make Thursday night/Friday noon services, Chestnut Hill Presbyterian Church (8855 Germantown Ave) has a service on Friday at 8:00 p.m.; First Germantown (35 W. Chelten Ave.) has one on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Grace and Peace,