Holy Week marks an extraordinary sweep of Christian thought and theology. It is a time of dwelling knee-deep in the powerful message that God has to us about sacrifice and our redemption.
In Philippians 3, Paul also reminds us that Holy Week is about breaking with the past. He holds up his Jewish-ness, and his “reason to be confident in the flesh.” But then Paul does something extraordinary. He refers to his confidence in the flesh (i.e. his circumcision, being a member of the tribe of Benjamin, being a Pharisee, etc.) as RUBBISH! And in Greek, this is not as nice of a word as rubbish.
He is making it clear that none of that amounts to anything when it comes to “the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord….I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in death.” This is at the heart of Holy Week.
We become ones who share in Christ’s suffering. We are buried with him in death. And we rise to new life with him as well.
I remember being part of a Jewish Seder meal while studying in Israel. I was surprised as this conservative Jewish family, as part of the liturgy, plugged up the bathtub drain and the kitchen sink and began the water flowing. After some time had passed, I had a question: “Umm, shouldn’t we turn off the water now? It is spilling on the kitchen floor!” The head of the household was quick to respond, and to remind the little children in the room of what was going on, “No. How else are we going to remember that we are part of the story and that WE escaped Egypt…escaped from the bondage?”
It was a powerful reminder to me that Holy Week is the same thing for me. It is a time for me to walk Jesus’ footsteps and have this week become a part of my soul. Because as Paul reminds us, we are “sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”
May the power and drama of Holy Week captivate you.