Our Holy Week/Easter Week devotional series starts tomorrow, so we wanted to take a moment before that starts to talk about what we’re doing in this devotional series.
Holy Week is the week when we Christians tell the story that we believe is the most important story in the history of the universe. It’s a week for slowing down and paying attention to the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus. This week is a chance to zoom in on the last week of Jesus life and discover what it means for us and the whole world.
We Christians believe that Jesus dying on the cross on Good Friday and rising from the Grave on Easter Sunday changes everything. It’s the center of the Bible, the center of God’s story, and the center of human history. It’s the moment that gives meaning to everything else and gives us hope for the future. Because God has gone this far, has sacrificed this much out of love for us – because of that, we have been offered eternal life, salvation, a new relationship with God. So, because this story is so significant, it’s worth taking time to slow down and pay attention to it.
Because Holy Week is such a big deal, many ways of celebrating it have emerged over the years. Things like the Stations of the Cross (prayer stations focused around certain stages of the story of the death of Jesus), services of Tenebrae (worship services that focus on reading scripture in a room that is getting increasingly dark), passion plays (reenactments of the death of Jesus), and more. One of those long-standing Holy Week traditions is reflecting on the so-called “seven last words of Christ.” These “seven words” are seven separate sayings that Jesus is reported to have said while he hung on the cross. These sayings are an opportunity to reflect on the meaning and power of Christ’s death and are central to the celebration of Holy Week and Good Friday in many Christian traditions. So, we will spend our Holy Week (April 5-11) reflecting on these sayings. The devotional for each day will focus on one of those seven sayings and reflect on what it can teach us about Jesus Christ (and what it means for us to follow him). We hope this will be an opportunity for you to find deeper meaning throughout your Holy Week.
Then, starting on Easter Sunday (April 12) and going through Sunday, April 19, the daily devotionals will focus on stories of the resurrection. There are quite a few great Easter stories in the four Gospels – some from Easter morning, some from Easter evening, some from a few days later – and all of them show us Jesus as the one who has conquered the grave, offering us new life.
These reflections have been written by pastors and Christian scholars from across Virginia and from a wide variety of backgrounds. Each day you’ll get a fresh perspective from an awesome Christian leader to help you discover new depths of our faith. Even in the midst of social distancing, God is offering us amazing love and powerful grace. We hope you’ll get a taste of that through these devotional readings!