Since almost the beginning of the church, Christians have celebrated the days between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday as Holy Week. Even now, in the midst of a pandemic and economic struggles, we can still remember and celebrate the work of Jesus.
Here are 4 tips to make your celebration of Holy Week a little more holy.
1. Fix your eyes on Jesus
In the original Holy Week, Jesus’ contemporaries missed what was going on because they only looked for Jesus when they thought he could solve their problems. If they’d been watching more faithfully, they wouldn’t have lost sight of him as he led the world to an offer of eternal citizenship in the Kingdom of God, through his death and resurrection.
Jesus almost always offers a different plan for us than what we were expecting, which is part of the reason it’s so important to keep "our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith” (Hebrews 12:2 NLT)
It can be helpful to keep a "Jesus Journal", a record of where you’ve seen Him at work in your life. A Jesus Journal can include prayer requests, praise reports, reflections on Scripture — whatever different components in your spiritual life that will help you fix your focus on Jesus.
2. Plan a family communion service for Maundy Thursday
Jesus himself led the disciples through communion just a day before his crucifixion on the first Maundy Thursday. Whether your family is the family you live with, or your spiritual family available through a video conference, make plans to celebrate communion.
In Luke 22:17-19 (NLT), we see that first communion:
Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.”
He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
You can use that time with your family to discuss and remember some of the places where you’ve seen Jesus show up in your life.
3. Prepare for Easter by participating in Good Friday
On Friday at noon, Pastor John Tardonia will lead us through a Good Friday service as we consider the cost Jesus was willing to pay for our redemption. Plan to attend, and even to invite friends. As you prepare, consider the people who need you to lay your own life down out of love, for their care and restoration. Learn more at NorthlandChurch.net/GoodFriday.
4. Plan for Easter!
Can you imagine the joy of the disciples when they realized Jesus was alive again? On Easter morning, women arrived at the tomb to attend to Jesus’ body, only to find an empty tomb instead. Then angels appeared, telling the women that Jesus has risen from the dead! The women rushed to the disciples to tell them the good news. There is someone in your life that needs to hear death isn’t the end. Someone who needs to be reminded of the miracle of the empty tomb so that they can dare to hope life might hold more than the brokenness the world has to offer them. You can be the messenger this Easter, carrying the good news. Tell some friends about Jesus, and invite them to celebrate his resurrection and the hope of the Gospel each and every one of us can have.
To paraphrase Romans 8:38:
Nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow, neither disease or economic hardships, neither personal failures or sin—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.
You can learn more about the first Holy Week, and the need for us to fix our eyes on Jesus in today’s noon devotional.
Remember, the first Holy Week happened to a beleaguered people living under foreign oppressors. In the midst of very difficult circumstances, Jesus showed up and turned all of history and humanity upside down to deliver salvation and redemption to a weary world yearning for rescue. That same offer still stands - in the midst of fearful and terrible circumstances, Jesus stands ready to offer rescue no matter the weight or hurts on our hearts.
These lyrics come from a Christmas Carol, but as we step into this week they offer a fitting praise for us to lift up: