I have always seen the story of Holy Week to be a story filled with choices. On Palm Sunday, there was the choice about whether or not to join the parade to welcome this new kind of king, a king of peace. During the days that followed, there was the choice about whether or not to listen to Jesus as he taught in the Temple. On Friday, there was the choice about whether or not to resist the crowd in their condemnation, whipped up by the powers-that-be, of this one who dared to challenge the way things were.
This year, the choices of Holy Week seem to be even more real. Will we celebrate the presence of a new kind of hero—the ones working in hospitals and grocery stores and driving trucks—and will our celebration include taking up their cause, insisting that they be the first in line for the protections so desperately needed to fight this virus? Will we listen to what the experts are teaching us about our need to keep at a safe distance from each other and to stay at home so that our most vulnerable will be protected? In the end, will we engage with those who understand that this crisis has taught us that things must change—that, to paraphrase the Apostle Paul, when one suffers all suffer together whether that one lives in China or in Teaneck, in a penthouse apartment or on the street?
To begin to make choices like these is to begin to appreciate what Holy Week really has always all about—not remembering simply something that happened two thousand years ago, but understanding something that has meaning now, today, in the choices we make in our times.
–Pastor Don Steele