From the Desk of Pastor Ken Albers
We are coming to the beginning of Holy Week. So the question is asked, “How does one make or keep Holy Week holy?”
A day or a week is not holy of itself. We make it holy by giving time to the Word of God in meditation and by believing all that Christ has done for us and for our salvation. That means that, as we begin Holy Week’s journey starting with Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, to Good Friday, and then Easter, we should make an intentional effort to meditate upon the Passion account of our Lord and Savior and thereby Holy Week becomes holy for us. Colossians 3:16 reads, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.”
I think sometimes we have the wrong impression of what ‘holy’ means. It really means to be set apart or consecrated to something higher than ourselves. We are not the people of this world. God has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. So we are called to follow Christ to the cross, to the empty tomb, and one day to heaven. We are a different people. We are, as Peter 2: 9-10 reads: “we are a “chosen (peculiar) people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that we may proclaim the excellencies of Him.” We are made holy by the blood of Christ which cleanses us from all sin and made righteous in His sight. So then, as a people set apart by God’s grace, how do we make this week holy and consecrated?
We do this by going to the special worship services and taking the time to meditate, to partake of the Lord’s Supper and to hear how the people around Jesus reacted as if you were really there and to ask yourselves what would you have done if you were there? I’m not so sure that you would have reacted any differently than many people did in the passion account of Christ.
Then in meditation, in looking back to the passion account, we ask if I am living now as someone who knows that Jesus died for my sins, that He rose for me and that I have been called to live a life set apart, peculiar, and holy? Luther says, “We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.” So the one thing we should do during Holy Week is to take the time to meditate on the Word of God, on the Passion of our Lord Jesus and ask, “Were you there?”
In the Lord’s Prayer, the first petition says, “Hallowed be Thy Name,” meaning His revelation of the power of His Name. May that revelation be special to you. Luther, in his explanation of this petition wrote: “God’s Name is certainly holy in itself, but we pray in this petition that it may be kept holy among us also.” Then the question is asked, “How is God’s Name kept holy?” “God’s Name is kept holy when the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity and we as children of God also lead holy lives according to it. Help us do this, dear Father in heaven, and anyone who teaches or lives contrary to God’s Word profanes the Name of God among us. Protect us from this, Heavenly Father.” So the Third Commandment and the First Petition talk about how we sanctify or make holy every day of our lives and it’s by hearing and reading and keeping the Word of God and by meditating on it, living it, and like Mary, ponder it in our hearts.
So how does one make or keep Holy Week holy? Well, for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter to be holy among us is for us to come into the house of the Lord and be still before God and reflect on what God has done on the cross and what His life, death, and resurrection means for us.
Because when you put yourself in those scenes and start to reflect on all that’s going on in the passion account of our Lord, you realize you really are there in the upper room and at the cross, not just as a spectator, but as the person being put to death. For 2 Timothy 2:11 reads, “If we have died with Him, we will also live with Him; if we endure, we will also reign with Him.” St. Paul says in Romans 6:3-4: “I have been buried with Christ by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” We then come to realize that it was my sinful self that was put to death on Good Friday through Jesus’ death. And so then we can fully appreciate the new life that comes Easter morning with the news that because Christ lives, I will live also. For whoever lives and believes in Him shall never die. And it’s all because of His life, death and resurrection for you and me. He is risen. He is Risen Indeed! YOU WERE THERE!