Jesus said, ‘Take up your cross and follow me.’ We’re still trying to live these words of Jesus out 2000 years later. Re enter the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection as we retell it in community.
The season of Lent ends with a climactic week of active remembering through re-enacted stories. It’s called Holy Week and marks the final week of the life of Jesus.
It begins on Palm Sunday with his entrance into the holy capital city of Jerusalem heralded as a paradoxical take on the Roman Triumph reserved for victorious generals returning home. We hand blessed palm crosses out stout service.
Throughout that week he taught in the public square engaging the elites and common people in dialogue, prophetic actions, and conversational contemplation.
On Thursday of that week, what we recall Maundy Thursday, when Jesus celebrated the Passover Meal with his closest friends, giving them the commandment to love one another as he had loved them. The word Maundy comes from the Latin word mandatum, meaning commandment. It’s at this meal that he institutes the eucharist (a meal of giving thanks) what we call “communion” today. It’s also at this meal that he is betrayed by a close friend into the hands of his enemies, later being arrested while praying in a public garden by the authorities.
Friday of that week, what we ironically call Good Friday, marks the public and private trials of Jesus by both the Roman Authorities (who governed and occupied the land) and the Religious Institution which oversaw the Jewish Nation. Condemned by the common crowds and the religious elites, Jesus is crucified on a cross : the death sentence given by the Romans to treasonous traitors.
The scriptures and continuing testimonies point to the mysterious resurrection of Jesus from the dead three days later at sunrise on Sunday. We gather to celebrate that 8th day of this holy week as Easter Sunday: the dawn of the resurrection. A day of eggs, new life and a new way of being.
You can celebrate this story, by entering into it with us, at several liturgical celebrations see dates for your diary and at the church gate pages in this magazine.