Monday, April 18, 2011

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty

I confess it has been a very long time since I celebrated traditional church feasts or holidays other than Pentecost, Christmas and Easter. I hope that doesn't make me a bad Christian.

This week the faithful are writing about holy Week - whatever that is. :)

As an Anglican for a few years, we followed a liturgical calendar. I think the biggest difference in focus (not theology) between the evangelicals and those the follow the Roman Catholic calender is the resurrection. The Catholic cross depicts Jesus being crucified, while the evangelical one, shows an empty cross; a sign of the resurrected Jesus. As Christians, we need to understand the sacrifice and the horror of the crucifixion, as well as engaging the power of the resurrection!

My take on Holy week is this, we follow Jesus from the Triumphal Entry through the betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane to the cross, and the joy of the empty tomb. On Palm Sunday we cheer the mighty King, and on Good Friday we celebrate his death (in our place) which is like a funeral mass. Then there is the overwhelming joy of Easter!

Each service touches me in a different way as I reflect on the sacrifice Jesus made for me. One of the things that I miss the most about my Anglican roots is the stations of the cross. Because the stations of the cross are done on Good Friday, the 15th one is omitted and done on Easter Sunday. Let's take a quick walk through them.

-1 Jesus is condemned to death
-2 Jesus is given his cross
-3 Jesus falls the first time
-4 Jesus meets His Mother
-5 Simon of Cyrene carries Jesus' cross
-6 Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
-7 Jesus falls the second time
-8 Jesus meets the daughters of Jerusalem
-9 Jesus falls the third time
-10 Jesus is stripped of His garments
-11 Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross
-12 Jesus dies on the cross
-13 Jesus' body is removed from the cross
-14  Jesus is laid in the tomb and covered in incense and grave cloth.

Holy week was a painful journey for our Lord as he suffered betrayal, humiliation, false judgement, torture and finally death - a death that defeated the sting of death for you and me for all eternity.

What does the death of Jesus mean to you?


Tony C said...

It means VICTORY!

I look forward to the day when I can worship my Savior in a perfect body and in a perfect place. With sin no longer in my life, I can shout and sing pure, Holy praise.

His death deserves that from me for all of eternity.

Tracy said...

I'll save my answer to your question for next week. But I did want to comment on the fact that I had very little experience with Catholicism until my oldest son converted to it this past year. One of the things that I liked when I went with him to mass at his college chapel was when I spent some time going around looking at the stations of the cross. I also appreciate the celebration of Holy Week. I hope that as we celebrate this week we'll each find greater meaning in the resurrection as we take a deeper look and contemplate the suffering, humiliation and pain that are the back drop to the resurrection.