Growing up Roman Catholic, Holy Week was one of the few times when the church drew my full attention. As repetitive a practice as the mass in general, I suppose the year that passed in between allowed for a certain sense of freshness. And speaking of “senses” mine were overloaded that week in particular! From the waving of my new palm branch, to the incense that burned while attending the “Stations of the Cross,” to the brilliant display of colors on Easter Sunday, Holy Week had much to make this Catholic altar boy wide-eyed with wonder.
After coming to a personal relationship with Christ through repentance and faith and rejecting for many years much of the tradition I had grown up with, I am now finding a desire in my heart for something of the Holy Week experience. Perhaps distance has made the heart grow fonder or perhaps I have simply tired of seeing the casual way that this significant week of reflection is treated sometimes by many of my Protestant brothers and sisters. Should there not be a time of deep-seated emotional reflection this week in particular?
Last night, I shared with the flock that God has granted me the privilege to shepherd just a glimpse of the significance of this week to me and how I will experience it. On Maundy Thursday as evening comes, I will be thinking of Jesus and His “Last Supper” with His friends. Of their somber stroll through the Garden of Gethsemane. Of friends who were restfully sleeping while their Saviour sweated drops of blood. Of a cup that would not pass. Of a friend who betrayed his Lord with a kiss which began a Satanic night of torture, lies, and abuse… that saw even His most faithful friend deny he ever knew Him.
And all of that before the crown of thorns, the via dolorosa, and the Cross. Before that day that we call Good Friday, which wasn’t good for Jesus at all, but meant absolutely everything good for us.
Easter will come soon enough and I will be full of elation. We’re going to go all out with fun for the kids and treats and a nice meal and so forth. It will be a day of great rejoicing as we remember the reason for the season and proclaim that “He is Risen.” But for now, I am drawn once more to the “Stations of the Cross” in my mind and in my heart. Only this time, I am more connected and understand at a heart level what it is really all about. I will weep with those who wept so that I may rejoice when the morning comes.