It’s Holy Week. For many of us, this is the week between Palm Sunday and Easter, with Good Friday tucked in. For the liturgists among us, this is a week of holy days, including Holy Wednesday and Maundy Thursday.
For all of us this year, this is an extraordinary week. This is a Holy Week like none other in our living memory.
This year, we all are like Jesus’ disciples. We all are, in a sense, hiding away, waiting for Jesus.
And we don’t like it.
We want to live as people who know the end of the story, not as people who don’t. We chafe at the idea of not joining together in person this Sunday to celebrate Jesus Christ’s resurrection. By not being together physically, it’s as if we are letting go of faith and giving in to the idea that hope is dead.
Oh, if only we understood Jesus’ power, which still was in full force in the most socially distant place, the grave.
Finding ourselves in the story
What follows is for self-examination, which is the underlying intent of all editorials but is offered here more devotionally.
Consider the four biblical accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion found in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Of all the people in the accounts, who are you among them? Who are you in the story?
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• The women who went to attend Jesus’ body.
• The centurion and other soldiers who exclaimed, “Surely, he was the Son of God!”
• Joseph of Arimathea who provided his tomb for Jesus’ burial.
• Jesus’ disciples who scattered and hid to avoid capture and punishment for following him.
• Peter who denied knowing Jesus.
• The guards at the tomb whose job was to make sure Jesus’ body stayed in the tomb.
• The chief priests who made up a story about what happened to Jesus’ body.
Why do you identify with that person or group of people?
We can find ourselves in the story by acknowledging our posture toward Jesus and the tomb. Do you approach the tomb:
• in denial,
• in fear,
• by buying it,
• by guarding it,
• by attending to it,
• by lying about it, or
• by hiding from it?
And why do you approach the tomb the way you do? What does your approach tell you about what you believe about Jesus?
Finding ourselves in extraordinary times
Holy Week is not an ordinary time, and this Holy Week is even more extraordinary.
So many other events in Jesus’ life are not fixed on the calendar with certainty. For example, Jesus’ birth has been celebrated in at least four different months throughout Christian history—March, April, May and December.
But Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, those events always have been fixed and certain. They are tied forever to Passover. And as long as there is memory of the current coronavirus pandemic, the annual observance of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection will be tied to our current circumstances.
But, really, Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection always have been tied to our current circumstances. We’ve always been part of that story, but perhaps this year, we feel it more acutely.
This year, because we do feel as though we are hiding away waiting for Jesus, may the power of his resurrection be known in us and through us like no time before in our living memory.
Eric Black is the executive director, publisher and editor of the Baptist Standard. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @EricBlackBSP. The views expressed are those solely of the author.