Living Lent & Holy Week
Our faith in God is a journey with God, and as such faith is a way of living. It is therefore enriching to participate in the journey of Christ and his first disciples. By living the story, we live our faith.
Ash Wednesday. On Ash Wednesday we remember that we are but dust, created by God. As creatures of God, we rely fully on God for all good things. With this reminder we can embark on a holy season of forty days in Lent, just as Christ spent forty days in the desert tempted by Satan, seeking God in new ways.
Palm Sunday. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem before the crucifixion, the people waved palms to praise their king on his triumphant entry. It is a day of great celebration as we celebrate our King, our Lord and Savior, as if he is entering our souls again after forty days of cleansing & renewal.
Maundy Thursday. The Last Supper. Jesus knew what death awaited him. Yet still he took time to eat a meal with his friends, and in so doing left us a constant reminder of him and means of revival through Communion. On this day we remember the salvation offered to the disciples even amidst terrible anxiety.
Good Friday. The day Christ died on the cross. That much we know. What we sometimes forget is that without Good Friday, without the death on the cross, there is no Easter. We cannot jump from one celebration to another without the death of love and atonement in the middle. We should not shy away from this day, even as kids (the same is true for Ash Wednesday). We should know the power of our faith, in which Love died for us to overcome death on Easter.
Holy Saturday. The stone still lay over the tomb. Despair had taken hold of the disciples. Death and evil seemed to have won. We all go through similar periods of life in which gloom and darkness seem overwhelming. Today is the day we acknowledge that. We ask Christ to be with us in our darkest moments, and we pray for all the people and global events covered in gloom.
Easter. Christ rose from the tomb never to see death again! Alleluia!
Ways to Participate in the Journey
Obviously, attending a service, if available, on one of these sacred days will help you live the journey. If there isn’t a service available or if you are unable to attend, or you’d like something extra to do, here are some tips:
Christ fasted for forty days in the desert (it’s important to remember he still drank water!). We can take up a new spiritual discipline, aka Means of Grace, during the forty days of Lent to live the journey with Christ and grow closer to God. See the Means of Grace sheet for some ideas.
On Ash Wednesday, we can fast from food (a total or partial fast) and when we feel a bit hungry remember that we indeed rely on God, our Creator, for all good things.
Take your palm from the Palm Sunday service home with you, and let it sit in a place you’ll see every day. During the week, it will dry and brown. Watch the change in your palm and let it guide you to spiritually shift from praising Christ’s victory march to the sadness of Jesus’s last days on earth as he prepares to and does endure a cruel death for us.
On Maundy Thursday, make one of your meals relatively simple, like bread and cheese, and use a special glass for your drink. When you take a morsel to eat, say, out loud or in your heart, “I do this in remembrance of you, Jesus,” and when you take a drink, do the same.
On Good Friday, take some time to meditate on the cross. Imagine Jesus on the cross, the sound of the hammering, the spear piercing his side, his final words.
On Holy Saturday, pray for the world, your community, your friends and family. If you pass a cemetery, pray for those who are mourning, and for yourself and any loved ones you have lost.
On Easter, take a walk. Enjoy creation. Reflect on the life that is blooming after a long winter. Shout Alleluia, for God is good.