It is true that Easter is on its way, however, before we arrive at that celebration there are a few observances to be made. Holy Week starts with Palm/Passion Sunday, which will be April 10th. This is the service when we imitate the people of Israel as Jesus rode into Jerusalem, waving palm leaves and shouting “Hosanna!” Then, we depart the service anticipating the darkness that precedes the dawn. Maundy Thursday follows later in the week with a communion service. I have heard many people say this is their favorite service of the year. It is also one of the darkest. It is a service that provides an outlet for the emotions that have built up within–fears, worries, disappointments, forebodings. Good Friday is next. This year, we will have a simple gathering in the sanctuary at sunset (7 pm). It will be a service of prayer, Scripture reading and silence. Then, each of us enters into our own time of reflection in our own ways until Sunday morning.
Easter Sunday is the apex of our year when we shout “Alleluia, He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!” It is a moment worthy of our full presence and attention. One reason behind the services that precede Easter is to go within to recognize, and if possible resolve, our own inner conflicts and concerns so that when we approach the resurrection we do so with full awareness of its power to heal. We seek to live like Easter people, celebrating the good news that death has been defeated and sharing it with everyone we meet.
After all that time in serious contemplation, we could all use a little lighthearted fun. For this reason, the Sunday after Easter we will observe another of our church traditions—Holy Humor Sunday. Laughter heals the soul, brings people together, and lightens all of our burdens. And why shouldn’t we laugh! Bring jokes to share and be prepared for energetic, lighthearted music. Jesus himself was known for enjoying a good celebration. As Easter people we should too.
I look forward to the journey ahead with all its peaks and valleys. It will be the first Holy Week and Easter together in person since 2019. That alone is reason to celebrate!