Sunday is the start of Holy Week, which begins with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and ends with his betrayal, arrest, and death. No other week in the church year carries us through a more bewildering array of emotions: the joy of Jesus’ public embrace of his Messianic calling, the suspense of the coming betrayal and denial, the tenderness of washing his disciples’ feet and giving them the bread of life and the cup of covenant, the agony in the garden, the outrage of conviction, and the horror of the cross.
I want to suggest some ways that we might travel the journey of Holy Week together while we are apart:
· Place a bit of greenery on your front door on Palm Sunday. We will not be together to wave palms as we sing or to decorate the sanctuary with palms. But we can each put a sprig of something green—I’ll pick a few pieces of fern from my yard—on our doors. Bring your greenery to church when we can gather again. We’ll collect them, save them, and burn them next year for Ash Wednesday.
· During our Sunday video worship, I’ll include a service of communion. I invite you to have with you as you watch the video a piece of bread and a cup of wine, grape juice, or water. I ask you not to make a special trip to the store if you do not have wine or juice. Water will be just fine. Let us trust that if the real spiritual presence of Jesus is in the elements, then the Jesus in those elements can once again turn water into real, spiritual wine.
· Look for a Maundy Thursday video from me on Wednesday. I will demonstrate how you can relive Jesus’ washing of his disciples feet whether you live with others or by yourself. Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do you know what I have done to you? . . . If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”
I never read this story without also thinking about Isaiah 52:7:
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
This devotional video will encourage us to consider our calling as announcers of peace, bringers of good news, and proclaimers of salvation.
· On Good Friday, I’ll post a video Stations of the Cross. I encourage you to watch it sometime between noon and 3:00 pm, which is the span of time during which Jesus suffered on the cross.
I pray that each of you continues in wellness and safety. Stay home as you are able. Take good care of yourself. And, as Paul says, “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
May you be safe and well,