Holy Week at Highland 2024

by Highland Baptist Church on March 19, 2024

Holy Week is a time that many of us want to skip over. It’s fun to come to church on a sunny Palm Sunday morning and to see children waving palm branches as we remember Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. And we love coming to church on Easter Sunday to a cross filled with beautiful flowers symbolizing Jesus’ resurrection. But it’s hard to come to a dimly lit space on Thursday and Friday night to be reminded of Jesus’ death.

 Yet I’ve grown to love the way the church feels on these nights, too. The light peeks in the windows from an angle we don’t know on Sunday mornings. There’s a quietness and a peace that I don’t always feel on Sunday mornings, or maybe I’m just not in a state of mind to experience it. The music is a little softer, and we walk in a little more slowly. We look into each other’s eyes and hear each other’s voices a little more clearly.

We don’t always come wearing our Sunday best. We come after a full day of work or school, and we come as we are. But we’re present. We’re here. To me, this whole time together just seems so real. There’s something real about coming to church not because it’s Sunday, and that’s what we do on Sunday, but because it’s a weekday, and we want to be here. We come because we believe God has something to say to us on ordinary weekdays, too.

Not only is there something real to me about these weekday service; there’s also something incredibly real to me about the weekday Jesus who meets us here. The weekday Jesus sits with us in our doubt and pain and confusion, when there is no resurrection in sight. The weekday Jesus serves from the very core of his being, considering others as better than himself. The weekday Jesus loves to the very end. And then, he calls us to do the same.

Rev. Emily Heath wrote the following in an article for Holy Week a few years ago that I return to every year. They write: “What if we became known not just as the people who knew what to do on Sundays, but the ones who knew how to stay with you when your life was falling apart, just as Christ asks us to do on Maundy Thursday? Or the ones who could stand by and still love you even when you call out your doubts, as Jesus did on the cross? What would happen if we weren't just known for our Easter Sunday celebrations, but for our Thursday night solidarity? Our Friday afternoon compassion?” (Read the full article here.)

Friends, this is the extent to which Christ is calling us to follow him….not just on Sundays, but even and especially on the days in between. Even in times when there is no hint of resurrection in sight. No matter the road on which we find ourselves, Holy Week reminds us that we’re surrounded by the love of a God who has walked this road, too, and who walks with us, still. 

~ Mary Alice Birdwhistell

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