Holy Week: Two Distinct Dimensions

Darkness and light. Despair and hope. Defeat and victory. Sadness and jubilation. Death and life. These are the contrasts of Holy Week, of the short stretch of time between Thursday night and Sunday morning, between the tragic events of Good Friday and the glorious celebration of Easter. For a Christian, this is one of the most profound, emotional, and certainly foundational weeks of our faith. Every year I look forward to experiencing two parts of the week, and to even physically entering into the two dimensions with a contrast of fasting and feasting, with quiet reflection and sober gratitude leading to freedom and joy.

As church leaders, we have the privilege and responsibility, I think, to guide our communities of faith through two distinct experiences. For Easter is not the full and complete proclamation of grace without the mourning that comes with Good Friday. This year, I will be pastoring our five Good Friday services. For an hour, we will reflect on the sacrifices made by our Savior in a kind of memorial service. We will choose to remember. And to give thanks. We will eat together the meal of remembrance through communion. Our team is preparing an experience that will allow our congregation to breathe, to confess, to reflect, and to mourn. With candlelight, the music of the cello, the words of Scripture, and an interactive exercise, we hope to give space and room and atmosphere for appropriate sadness.

Then our Easter services will provide for the release of joy worthy of an empty tomb and the hope of resurrection. Visually we will experience a different kind of beauty – full of color and delight and wonder. Musically we will rock the house. And Bill will deliver a message that lifts the spirits toward the God of second chances and the dawn of new light. I love these contrasts!

Whatever your part in Holy Week, I hope you will enter into the entire experience - two distinct dimensions of our faith. If you are helping to serve at your church in any way, thank you for doing your part to usher your community into the wonders of this week. This is a holy calling, and a week to treasure. And may you personally feel the contrasts as well, as you privately carve out a few moments to mourn and a few moments to dance…

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