As I reflect on the upcoming Holy Week, I wonder if the emphasis will be more on the “historical” perspective rather than the existential perspective of living out the events of Holy Week throughout our lives. There are several events held Holy Week but I will only examine three of them.
The first Holy Week event is the Stations of the Cross also known as The Way of the Cross. Is it only a reenactment of Jesus’ historical walk on the way to his crucifixion? Or do we celebrate that His walk of love is a journey of giving of ourselves to one another? Are we so trapped by the literal or the historical meaning of these theological acts that we cannot “imagine” beyond the events and experience the power of living them in our daily lives?
Is the meaning of Jesus’ Crucifixion trapped in his ancient death over many years ago? Or does the Crucifixion as way of life call us to “let go” or “put to death” our false self and offer our authentic self to each other? If we do not make room for the “other” can we truly encounter the “other” as “Thou”? If we do not “let go”, “make room” or “put to death” our imposed images of each other or our pre-conceived notions of life, we will miss the encounter with the “real”. Jesus’ crucifixion should bring to our consciousness the times when we choose power rather than partnership, when we choose certainty rather than the un-known, when we chose religious imposed dogma rather than each other and when we chose to shield ourselves rather than being vulnerable to the other. I am reminded of a quote that is thrown around but is rarely finished. The quote is “God is dead” but the rest of the quote is “and we have killed him”. How do we “kill God”? Do we kill God when we marginalize the poor as a “cause” we need to fix? Do we kill God when we designate women as un-fit to lead in worship or sit on church boards? Do we kill God when we reduce the opposition to our cause as a “thing” to be hated and destroyed?
Now for the final act of Holy Week, the Resurrection. For some Christian the Resurrection is the only important event in Holy Week. Some live on the “other side” of the resurrection so there is no need to give meaning to anything prior to the “Good News”. It seems to me that the Resurrection is often seen as a vindication, “proof” or evidence of God. Is the Resurrection more than a vindication that the Suffering Servant has been properly “put” in His place of authority? Is the Resurrection “physical proof” that God is God? Is a “miracle” evidence of God or is LOVE? Could it be that living our lives in response to love is the Resurrection? Or maybe the Resurrection is the moments when we “encounter” the divine? When the dignity of another human being is restored? When the poor are seen more than a label or cause? When women are seen more than a “baby factory”? When a homosexual is seen as a human not a sinner? Or when Mother earth is more than a resource?
O God of love, courage and freedom, may we “let go” of our false self and our pre-constructed lives so there is room to open our authentic selves in vulnerability and see the Divine in all of creation including each other.
2 thoughts on “Is Holy Week more than observations of historical events?”
Im so glad that you wrote this. You made me think and reflect.
Does Holy Week begin with stations of the cross? Perhaps. For me it is the real reflection on the enthusiasm we bring to the triumphal entry with the “march around as we begin our worship on Palm Sunday.” Then, how awesome is the pain we feel when we accept the role of crucifier, rather than the “true believer?” Its comforting to think “Not me” but the liturgy reminds us “Yes you!” As we leave the church on Palm Sunday we should do so solemnly with a question in our hearts, “What must I do about it now?” That is where I believe that your answers should start. We should join those who answer with positive action to change the world, so that human dignity becomes meaningful to ourselves, that there is no such thing as a homosexual or heterosexual, but simply another pilgrim seeking healing and only finding it in love, Almost one could begin by quoting Paul “There is no male or female, Jew or Gentile, slaver nor free but only God’s people who to be true must include everyone.
Another question occurs to me. When we do something about our participation in the crucifixion, are also participating in the resurrection?