Holy Week Reflections

Holy Week is my favorite week of the church year. It’s a week that engages us in deep ways – if we respond to the invitation. It’s also a week that is easy for many people to just skip over and treat like any other week. That’s their loss though. The invitation is there for people to participate in all that this week offers. But it’s just that – an invitation.

The core of what this week is about is love after all. And love is invitational. I’m reminded of what love is in Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth:

“If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing.

“Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

“Love never ends.”

(1 Corinthians 13:1-8a)

And of course this description that Paul writes is also a description of who God is since God is love.

And during Holy Week we get a clearer glimpse of who God is, embodied in Jesus. Of course this glimpse of love is not the popular notion of love, which the popular culture just equates to sex.

The image of love that we see and encounter in Holy Week is much deeper and vulnerable. It is trusting. It is self-sacrificing. It is self-emptying.

The love of Holy Week isn’t a happy, happy, joy, joy kind of love. But rather a love that has deep concern and care. A love that knows that it will do what must be done even though the recipient of that love rejects the love offered and given. A love is intent of going forward even when all the blockades are up and the defenses are firing at full blast.

Maybe that’s why so many people ignore this week. It’s just too painful for so many to encounter that kind of love. It’s the kind of love that changes us at our very core. And for many people, they have no interest in being transformed. We’d rather lie to ourselves that we have our crap together. At least then we get to keep on pretending that we are in control of our lives. And the core of that belief is that we are god. If we are god, then we don’t need a savior – we can save ourselves.

Of course most people aren’t thinking any of this. They are just going about their daily lives. But I wonder, if these same folks engaged in this week and what it is about – I wonder what would happen.

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