We sometimes wonder, why is Holy Week so important? Why do I need to be present on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday? The services are so dark and gloomy. I love the upbeat and spirited. Why can’t I just wave my palm branches and shout “Hosanna!” on Palm Sunday, and then return the next week to sing “Alleluia!” and celebrate the empty tomb? The short answer to that question is, “We could.” And the reality is that many do. But when we do that, we miss out on some very important parts of the story. We misrepresent the gospel story. As it has been stated, “There is no triumph without suffering, no crown without a cross.” Ann Weems put this message into words in her poem “Holy Week.” Consider these words and this message:
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.
It is a time to curse fig trees that do not yield fruit.
It is a time to cleanse our temples of any blasphemy.
It is a time to greet Jesus as the Lord’s Anointed One,
to lavishly break our alabaster
and pour perfume out for him without counting the cost.
It is a time for preparation…
The time to give thanks and break bread is upon us.
The time to give thanks and drink of the cup is imminent.
Eat, drink, remember:
On this night of nights, each one must ask,
as we dip our bread in the wine,
“Is it I?”
And on that darkest of days, each of us must stand
beneath the tree
and watch the dying
if we are to be there
when the stone is rolled away.
the only road to Easter morning
is through the unrelenting shadows of that Friday.
Only then will the alleluias be sung;
only then will the dancing begin.
May your Holy Week be just that – holy, consecrated, belonging to God