Holy Week is almost here!
We have several opportunities to worship and take the pilgrimage through Christ’s passion (suffering on the cross) to Easter joy! We do that best as a community of faith in worship together.
I have been reading Serene Jones’ reflections on the Easter texts in Mark and John. She remarks about how all the senses come together to take in the good news that Jesus is not in the tomb, but that he is alive! To respond to the news, one must engage the senses, not just the intellect.
Mary Magdalene, the women, Peter and the beloved disciple (is that you and me?) see that the tomb is empty. The women hear angel messengers tell them “He is not here, he is risen”; Mary Magdalene does not recognize Jesus by sight, only when she hears him call her name does she know that she has seen the Lord. She touches him, although only for a moment. As the story continues, Thomas touches the wounds and then there is the marvelous story of breakfast on the beach; the disciples see and know, but then they smell the fish cooking, and are drawn to him- O taste and see that that Lord is good.
“If Jesus comes to us through the senses, it is important that we go to church and be in a space where we physically, emotionally, communally experience Jesus in our midst…” in the bread we break and the cup we drink, in the familiar smells of the pews and the flowers, “the sound of hymns long familiar that stir us in places to deep to be named”… in the sounds of familiar friends and their warm embrace, in the light streaming through stained glass in colors that feed our faith. Our sacred space you love so well.
Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, when we face the fact that “we are always both the faithless abandoners and killers of God AND the faithful mourners and lovers of God,” these communal worship experiences always engage the senses. We experience the movement of a parade and waving of palm branches, only to see them drying and discarded late in the week as we attend to the other parade, the one where Jesus bears his cross to jeering crowds. Smells of bread and wine, ok, juice of the Last Supper, the candles burning and snuffed out as Jesus, betrayed, denied, abandoned draws closer to death on the cross. The sound of mournful and quiet hymns, sometimes the sounds of nails or the stone rolled over the entrance of the tomb, all these things reach deep within us to evoke memory, awareness deep in our being, that this is our salvation, this is our hope. “What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss to share the dreadful curse for my soul.” We awaken to the gratefulness deep in our being that our faith thus fed will push us toward sharing that love with a waiting world.
Join us for Holy Week worship: Palm Sunday at 10:30 am. We will worship with our Trinity United Methodist neighbors on Maundy Thursday (March 29 ) at 7 pm with Holy Communion at Coates Street Church and on Good Friday (March 30) at 7 pm at Trinity.
Then let’s celebrate our Easter joy on Sunday, April 1: 7 am at Rothwell Park, followed by brunch at church before 10:30 worship! No fooling, it is going to be a joyous day, celebrating life in Christ!
We do it best together! See you at church,
Pastor Ann Wasson