I am sitting here in the quietness of my living room (yes, believe it or not, even with 10 people living under this small roof there are moments of solitude and corners to go to escape) watching the flickering of five candles set up on our dining room table in the shape of a cross. We entered into another Holy Week today with the celebration of the triumphant entry of Jesus on Palm Sunday and a time of family devotions after dinner in which we extinguished the first of six candles that will be put out each night this week leading up to Good Friday where we will face the darkness of the cross.
As I reflected on the upcoming week, where those of us who are believers in Jesus set aside time to remember His last days on this earth, I was sad to think about how this most important season in the Christian faith as been all but laid aside for many. In days past…
- students would always have Holy Week off from school
- churches would celebrate Palm Sunday with great enthusiasm handing out palm branches formed into crosses for you to take home along with a family devotional to be used throughout Holy Week
- most denominations would have a Maundy Thursday service complete with communion & even sometimes a foot washing ceremony
- Good Friday was a sacred day with businesses closing at noon and folks attending solemn services to remind them of Christ great sacrifice
Today it seems like Easter arrives to everyone’s surprise and Holy Week is just perhaps a blip on our radar screen. Easter vacation at school, which always fell during Holy Week, has given way to Spring Break which is taken at various times throughout March or April and not often coinciding with Holy Week. Very few Christians even acknowledge Palm Sunday or Maundy Thursday. And tragically, Good Friday is just another run of the mill “TGIF” for most people.
I thought about our upcoming week and even with our very purposeful & meaningful family celebrations that we have set aside time to do (Palm Sunday, Holy Week Devotions, our Passover Christian Sedar, Good Friday Observance) we still have a week that is filled with school for my teenagers (although at least our Christian school takes off Good Friday, but at times we have had to fight for that), athletic events, dentist appointments, a birthday party, endless errands and work, work & more work. It just didn’t sound very “holy” and while some of the weeks activities are inevitable, others I could have avoided adding to our calendar or been more dedicated to getting done earlier. I humbly and with repentance bowed my head and prayed for our family that we would not just live as if this was just another week but that we would set it aside as….holy.
But what exactly does holy mean?
The dictionary defines it as:
- consecrated: dedicated or set apart for religious purposes
- saintly: devoted to the service of God
- sacred: relating to, belonging to, or coming from a divine being or power
Wow! Those are some pretty intense words — consecrated, dedicated, set apart, devoted to service, sacred, belonging to God. As I contemplate by candlelight this evening I am making a renewed commitment to not allow Holy Week to ever get so “cluttered” again and to truly set it aside for God and His service.
If you are a follower of Jesus, I hope you too will consecrate, dedicate, set apart, and devote in sacred service this Holy Week to God!
P.S. – If you are interested in our family Lenten season, Holy Week & Easter traditions you can find them on my blog here – http://bethlambdin.wordpress.com/category/easter-season/