The week begins: the palm branches are waving and the cries of “Hosanna!” can be heard resounding. We can get caught up in the crowds, the celebration, the hope of glorious salvation. But the triumphant entry is only the first step of this journey that we begin together through Holy Week. The week is holy not because of the glory, laud, and honor with which it begins. The week is holy because of the overwhelming, divine love of God for all God’s people: even when that love is met with ridicule, mockery, betrayal, execution, and death. This week, we journey together through this most sacred space.
At our Palm Sunday service, my choir will sing an anthem written by Frank Ferko. The lyrics are from the Vespers of Palm Sunday in the Byzantine Rite:
Passing from one celebration to another,
from palms and branches let us now make haste, O faithful,
to the solemn and saving celebration of Christ’s Passion.
Let us see Him undergo voluntary suffering for our sake,
and let us sing to Him, with thankful hearts
Let us sing to Him with thankfulness a fitting hymn.
Fountains of tender mercy and haven of salvation,
O Lord, glory to you.
I have sung this anthem for several years, and I have always been haunted by its beauty. But, this year, I found myself paying particular attention to these words as we rehearsed this piece. For me, they are the embodiment of our Journeying this most holy of weeks, each day offering us the opportunity to intentionally move with open eyes and open hearts toward a deeper understanding and meaning of Holy Week for our own lives, and for the world.
Our heart’s longing is to experience and understand this great, divine love that is unconditional and ever-present. This most sacred, divine love envelops us and accompanies us on a week where all our human nature wants to cry out, “but wait, isn’t there another way??”
But this Holy Week, there is only one way. One path. One journey. One great, mighty and ever-present love that beckons us forward. This truth is what accompanies Jesus into Jerusalem.
Click on the image or link below to be redirected to the interactive image of daily practices for this Holy Week. This week, there is one daily practice specific to each day of Holy Week.
As we walk the steps of the Holy Week, may we see with new eyes and hear with new ears this story of love as it unfolds.