Next week is central to my identity. My life changes as I enter it. It is the annual pilgrimage of Christians worldwide.
Holy week is more than a seminar on how to improve my life skills.
A popular way to read scripture, preach sermons or write devotionals is to seek life application. The goal is to find specific practices or concepts on how to improve my life. For example, how I might be a better parent or a better spouse, how I can worry less or trust God more. There is a place for life application, but I don’t see the final days of Jesus’ life as serving that primary function.
I want to use a metaphor to explain this. Our lives can be compared to a home where we live. We have our spaces, our furniture, and our routines that shape daily lives. “Life applications” help us do minor rearrangements and some remodeling to our home, but we still manage how the day-to-day routine flows in our home.
But Holy Week actually forces me out of my home. I am on a pilgrimage to ancient Jerusalem in my imagination. I am part of the crowd that shouts “hosanna” as Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey. I join with the disciples in eating with Jesus the upper room. With the crowd outside of Pilate’s court, I shout, “Crucify him.” Finally I hurry to the tomb with the women, full of wonder.
I gather with the people of Resurrection Lutheran to worship, pray, sing and sit in silence. I will seek no specific application or wisdom other than to be with Jesus.
Through this journey my daily story is rewritten, reworked. Like the hobbit Frodo Baggins, I am on a journey far from my comfortable Shire. And when I return to my home, I have been changed by the journey.
Are you ready to enter the story of Christ’s passion this year?
Lord Jesus, let me truly walk with you this week.