Humanity is fickle.
They may dress for a
morning coronation and
never feel the need to
change clothes to
attend an execution in
So Triumphal Sundays
and Good Fridays
always fit comfortably
into the same April
The Singer Chapter XV
Every year as I approach Holy Week I am reminded of this quote. I first read Calvin Miller in my freshman year at Grand Valley as part of an InterVarsity Christian Fellowship book study. Growing up in the Episcopal church, where the only telling of the Gospel was via the King James Bible, I found this telling of the life of Jesus totally remarkable. In time I would discover that Calvin Miller was simply doing what C. S. Lewis did in the Narnia books and what J. R. R. Tolkien did in the Lord of the Rings: all telling ancient truth through new vessels, opening exciting wonders to new generations, in languages they could understand.
We know well the narrative of Holy Week. Jesus and his disciples walk into Jeru-
salem. Along the way people join the growing crowd, throwing their garments
on the road in front of Jesus. Some were busy cutting down palm branches and adding them to the garments strewn in the roadway. Others were waving the palms they carried, crying, “Hosanna to the Son of David.” Suddenly, Jerusalem, tense and poised like a field of bone dry brush waiting for a match to start an inferno, was suddenly in riotous turmoil.
Jesus gathers his companions together for a final meal and he instructs them as to what they are to do. He prays to God His Father for strength and support.
Jesus is betrayed, arrested, tried, beaten, forced to carry a heavy wooden cross and then crucified. He is abandoned by all but a few faithful. The crowd that so
joyfully followed his triumphal entry into the Holy City was now screaming for blood. They were willing to see an innocent man die.
We know the story well. We’ve had it read to us as children. We’ve read the parts in the Liturgy on Palm Sunday and we ourselves cry, “Crucify him!” We’ve heard it read on Good Friday in the darkened bare church. We’ve seen it in movies like Ben Hur and The Robe and more recently in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. We’ve even experienced Holy Week in Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s 1970 rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. We know the story well.
Holy Week is one of the opening keys to our salvation. We would never think of opening a novel two thirds of the way through and begin reading. We wouldn’t
start a movie ten minutes before it ends. We cannot begin to truly understand the Resurrection without fully participating in all that precedes it, especially
Elsewhere in this newsletter is the Holy Week Schedule. Plan on attending as much as you can: Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and then the Day of Resurrection. All of these very different services work together to move us from our selfish human world into the Glorious Kingdom of Light and Life. See you at church.
May God richly bless and keep you.
With Deepest Affection.