I've often wondered why this week is called "holy" in the church. For me, the days between Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday are the darkest in the story of our faith. These were the days when Jesus was betrayed, denied, arrested, murdered, and buried. It has never felt like a holy time to me. But that's what this week is called - Holy.
Ann Weems wrote a few lines that are resounding in my head on this Holy Monday night. These lines come from a poem she called "Holy Week," from a book she called Kneeling in Jerusalem.
Holy is the week...
Holy, consecrated, belonging to God...
We move from hosannas to horror
with the preditable ease
of those who know not what they do.
Our hosannas sung,
our palms waved,
let us go with passion into this week.
It is time to curse fig trees that do not yield fruit.
It is time to cleanse our temples of any blasphemy.
It is time to greet Jesus as the Lord's Anointed One,
to lavishly break our alabaster
and pour perfume out for him
without counting the cost.
It is time for preparation...
The time to give thanks and break bread is upon us.
The time to give thanks and drink of the cup is imminent.
Eat, drink, remember:
On this night of nights, each one must ask,
as we dip our bread in the wine,
"Is it I?"
And on that darkest of days, each of us must stand
beneath the tree
and watch the dying
if we are to be there
when the stone is rolled away.
The only road to Easter morning
is through the unrelenting shadows of that Friday.
Only then will the alleluias be sung;
only then will the dancing begin.
I do remember why this is called holy.
It's because after the betrayal, denial, the suffering and the dying,
there will be an empty tomb on Sunday morning.
Because that is when he rose again.
That is when light overcame darkness.
That is when life overcame death.
I don't know about you, but I am ready for new life.
I am ready for giving thanks and shouting alleluia.
I am ready for eating, drinking and merry dancing.
I am ready to celebrate the craziest story of love, of life,
of resurrection and redemption ever told.
May this week be holy.
May every day be holy.