Entering Holy Week
Stories grow richer and deeper and more meaningful as they are told over and over. That happens with one proviso: that we as listeners open our hearts and ears to hear and receive new meaning. Children (and at least one adult I know – me!) love to hear the same stories told over and over. If the storyteller deviates from even one little detail or tries to shorten the story, the listeners object loudly and cry out for it to be told the way it has always been told!
Holy Week is like that for Christians. It is the culmination of the most important and truest story of all time: the story of God and His people. It’s a story told year after year – and we find this story written all over the Old and New Testament. It is fitting and right and good to hear it again and again, especially if we as listeners (and participants) strive to hear it with renewed anticipation and to receive it with fresh intent and desire.
This year, we have many opportunities to enter the story. This Thursday we will join with other churches to listen to the seven last words (sayings) of Jesus from the Cross. This service will be held at Tabernacle of Praise Church (1217 Prouty Ave, Toledo) at 6:30. It is traditionally called a Maundy Thursday service and it commemorate Christ washing the feet of his disciples and the last meal he shares with them. To prepare our hearts for this service we can reflect on these last seven words and their place in both the Old and New Testaments.
- Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34) (Psalm 22:18)
- Today you will be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)
- Behold your son: behold your mother. (John 19:26)
- My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Mark 15:34) (Psalm 22)
- I thirst. (John 19:28) (Psalm 69)
- It is finished. (John 19:30)
- Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. (Luke 23: 46) (Psalm 31)
The first Scripture reference in parenthesis is the passage from the New Testament and the second reference is a passage from the Old Testament. Enter into these passages and familiarize yourself with them. Let these seven words find a place in your heart that can lead you to deeper anticipation of Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday!
The psalms listed above include Psalms 22, 31, and 69 – all of which should be read in full to see the full context and how Jesus quotes these prophetic Old testament passages from the Cross. Isaiah 53 is also a significant passage for us to understand exactly what happened when Christ took our place and bore our sins.
From Maundy Thursday we come into Good Friday – and our service at Grace is at 7:00 p.m. Ask God to prepare your heart to enter more deeply and personally Christ’s work on our behalf on the Cross. And then of course (!) – the culmination of this story on Resurrection Sunday (Easter Sunday) as we worship together our God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! Christ has won for us total and complete fellowship with the Father – and He has triumphed over death! Hallelujah!!
My prayer for all of us is that we are carried along in the Truest Story Ever Told, from Palm Sunday and the Triumphal Entry to the Last Supper, The Crucifixion to Resurrection Sunday! May the Spirit of God ignite this in our hearts!