Holy Week (April 2022 Newsletter Article)  

By Rick Summy, Senior Pastor

Holy Week is full of drama!

It starts with a rather humble parade on Palm Sunday. No prior publicity. No tickets for admission. Just palm branches waving. Just the spontaneous crowd. Humble, despite the brave shouts of acclamation for the One who is coming in the name of the Lord. On the other hand, the hot ticket was for the parade across town, the pageant of Rome’s power and might, horses prancing, shields shining, soldiers marching.

God shows up in the least expected of places.

On Thursday, Jesus gathers with his disciples for a final meal and, by one account, a ceremonial washing of feet, symbolizing the love and service to which he was called, and to which they are being called. 

There are no intricate plans mapped out. No specific strategies discussed. Just simple, every day, earthy stuff in the face of dire circumstances, with betrayal imminent, and abandonment just a day away.

Bread and wine. 

Body and blood.

The cleansing of feet.

God shows up in ordinary places.

Soon enough there is a rigged trial and convenient condemnation. The innocent One is branded the worst of criminals. The Holy One is abandoned. Disciples flee. Hope retreats. Humiliation and suffering lead to death on
a cross.        

My God, my God…

Where was God in the dying?

Where was God in the waiting?

Never far away, apparently.

Because then, beyond reason, hope, or imagination, on Sunday, the sun came up. God raised Jesus from the dead. The worst the world can do is overcome by the God who is always near, and who is never bound, not even by death.

And if death can’t stop God, well, what can?

This is the story of Holy Week. The greatest story ever told, it’s been said.

As we worship together this Holy Week, come and bear witness to the full range of human experience and the abundant grace of a loving God, from a parade with shouts of praise to a meal framed by promise and betrayal to the frightened flight of followers and felt abandonment to a gruesome death to an empty time, and, finally, to an empty grave.

From death to life.

Because God shows up.

P. S. Chris and I wish to thank you for all of your expressions of kindness at the news of the death of her mother, Emmy Haas.