By Pastor Jeff Jacobs
Unity Lutheran Parish –
St. Paul, Saetersdal and
St. Matthew’s, Granger
Holy Week last year was not what we expected. Joyous processions on Palm Sunday, foot washing or Communion on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday Tenebrae and reflections on Jesus’ last Seven Words, Easter Vigil and bonfires and trumpets and glorious Alleluias at dawn – for many of us, these were severely curtailed or cancelled by quarantines.
The first “Holy Week” was not what the disciples expected either. Yes, there was an exciting procession into Jerusalem at the beginning of the week. But their long-anticipated Passover meal became a strange feast of Christ’s body and blood. An evening of prayer in the garden turned into confusion and fear as Jesus was arrested, tried and condemned. Their Friday was filled with horror as their beloved Master was brutally executed, and their sabbath was an anguish of grief and despair.
Yet then came the first day of the week. Out of all the pain and sorrow and hopelessness came unexpected joy. Their Lord was not dead – he had risen, and his Resurrection life would transform their lives from that moment and transform the world in which they would now proclaim this good news.
Perhaps Holy Week this year will be a little more “what we expected” for our observances and celebrations. But it is still the unexpected power and promise of the Resurrection that truly gives hope through the sufferings of this world. As we continue to face challenges arising from last year – the aftermath of COVID, the economic repercussions, the racial tensions, the social and political turmoil – may Christ’s life bring light to the darkness, healing in the brokenness, and renewal amid the struggles of these times.