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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Holy Week?

Holy Week is the time we Christians commemorate the "Passion of Jesus", and if Passion refers to the suffering and death of Jesus, then what is so holy about suffering and death?

There are many responses to this question, ranging from “nothing” to “everything.”  Some people recoil at the suffering and death of Jesus, while others embrace it.  The events of the week, as recorded in the Bible, are interpreted on a scale ranging from violent torture of an innocent man by imperial powers, to the death of God for the salvation of humankind.   And there is some truth in most of the interpretations along this scale. 

One of the beautiful things about the Bible is that even though there are traditional interpretations and teachings on which to draw, the ultimate meaning of its stories is eventually revealed in our own lives. 

But however we engage and interpret the story, one thing is pretty clear:  there is movement from life to death to life. The story becomes the ultimate allegory of a central teaching of Jesus: One must lose life in order to gain it.  Whether the "loss" is physical, material, emotional, psychological, real, or metaphorical, and whether "life" is temporal or eternal is eventually determined by how we engage the story.

So, my suggestion for this Holy Week is to engage the story.   Find a quiet time and read one or all of the Holy Week stories from the four biblical gospel accounts. (Mark 11-16; Matthew 21-28; Luke 19:28-24; John 13-21)  Read from the perspective of your own life and see where the story takes you.

Warning: It may not be easy, but it will be rewarding.  And this just may be the ultimate "holy" of Holy Week.

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