Holy Week is my favorite time of the year. I know that many people love Christmas. I actually don’t. The commercialization of everything at that time of the year makes me sick. The fakeness of the season, the forced happiness (whether you feel it or not), the spending, etc. – I’m not a fan. But I do love church Christmas.
We don’t have the consumer Easter – not much anyway. Easter pretty much is solely a religious holy day. And there’s no covering up what it’s about either. The Easter Bunny doesn’t have the same stature as Santa.
And Holy Week actually gets noticed – unlike Advent, which so many don’t even realize exists. There’s just no way to spin Holy Week into some kind of buying frenzy. In Holy Week we hear about Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey with palm branches waving at him. People there must have thought they were waving to a politician who was going to set everything right, or make Israel great again, or was bringing hope and change for their them. He was, but not in the way they understood.
Holy Week is the time we hear about the flipping of the tables in the Temple. We hear about conflict with Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes, the chief priests and elders. We hear about the Roman occupiers asserting their fear and power. We hear about a “trial” and punishment. We hear about mockery. We hear about violence and death. We hear about betrayal. And there is no way to hide these things. Holy Week speaks to us because we still live in that world. It is still a part of our reality – whether we want to admit it or not. Jesus shows us the reality of a broken world – and shows it right in our face.
Holy Week is also the time when we see who God really is – a self-emptying Savior who loves creation so much, that this same God would go all the way to death and beyond for creation.
Holy Week is the time we see that our expectations of who God is, or who we think God should be, are shattered and destroyed. Jesus doesn’t fight back against all that oppose him – like we want him to. We want him to pull out a sword and kick ass and take names. But he doesn’t do that at all.
Holy Week is uncomfortable for so many Christians. Too many will just skip the whole week and go to Easter, where we can all be happy again and sing Alleluia! But Holy Week is supposed to be uncomfortable. Holy Week is Jesus holding up a mirror to us and showing us who we are – We are the ones who yell out “His blood be on us and our children.” We are the ones who cry out with a bloodthirsty cry – “Crucify him! Crucify him!” We claim these things every time we choose violence, hatred, war, and death.
Yet, the same blood that is on us and convicts us, is the same blood that will be shed for us and will cover us in forgiveness.
Holy Week is a time when we see who God is, who we are, and how God goes to the ends of the earth to right the wrongs of the world – the ones we can’t fix ever. But God can. Holy Week is scary for so many. Yet it is beautiful.