Here we are at the end of another Lenten season with Spring upon us and Holy Week’s near arrival. For many people this is simply old hat. The redemptive events of Jesus are so familiar to some of us that it runs the risk of being, well, boring. After all, we know this stuff already – why keep doing this continual Church Calendar thing?
While some might cry out that lectionaries, the Christian Year, Holy Week, and liturgies are just vain repetition, I would argue otherwise: we are in grave danger of not paying attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. Like a beach-goer out on the lake drifting on her flotation device far out from shore, we are unaware of how far we have strayed from our spiritual moorings. If the passion and death of Jesus can only get a shoulder shrug and a “meh” out of us, there is a real problem. We have ignored Lent’s emphasis on repentance and want the destination without the time it takes to get there.
“How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” protests the author of Hebrews. The events and services of Holy Week are designed to help us pay attention, to remember, to give thoughtful reflection and due diligence to the incredible work of salvation that Jesus has pioneered and achieved for us through the cross. The sin which we must turn from is not the overt commission of having done something really bad, but the negligent omission of not doing anything, of treating Holy Week just like any other old week. Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Gracious Lord Jesus, you went to the greatest lengths possible to redeem us from sin’s terrible bondage. As I contemplate your passion in this next week, lead me to fresh appreciation and a depth of gratitude that goes beyond comprehension. Amen.