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A Plan For Holy Week

A Plan For Holy Week

Posted by Rachel Novak on

It is Holy Week! We, at Christian Planner, needed that reminder in the middle of situation we find ourselves living in. It can be difficult to tell Monday from Tuesday, Friday from Sunday. Every day looks the same as we long for a return to “normal life.” 

How are we to celebrate this week as “holy” or set apart, when every day feels the same? 

Well, what’s the point of “holi-days” in the first place? Holidays are celebrations of important events in a people’s history and they are fundamental to human life.

A little context can go a long way.  For Holy Week, we have included below a few quick ways to observe what other Christians have for centuries:

Date/Holy DaySignificanceHow To Be A Part
4/5 - Palm Sunday  Christ leaves Bethany and, riding on a donkey, enters Jerusalem to shouts of “Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

With our own palm branches, we place ourselves in this crowd, confessing Jesus as our King.

Read Matthew 21, Luke 19, Mark 11

4/6 - Monday Christ clears the Temple and rebukes the unbelief of the crowd.  Read Matthew 21, Mark 11 & Luke 19
4/7 - Tuesday Christ returns to the Temple and the religious leaders question His authority. Christ teaches extensively and warns about the destruction of Jerusalem to come. Read Matthew 21-25, Luke 20-21, Mark 11-13
4/8 - Wednesday

Scripture doesn’t say much about this day. Tradition has it that on Wednesday, Judas Iscariot negotiated his betrayal of Jesus with the Sanhedrin.

Read Matthew 26, Luke 22, Mark 14
4/9 - Maundy Thursday Begins what many Christians call the “Sacred Triduum” or the holy “three days.” On Thursday night, Jesus washes the disciples feet and institutes the Eucharistic meal. It was near midnight that Jesus was betrayed by Judas in Gethsemane

Celebrate of the Lord's Supper at home.

Foot washing is a common practice for this day. 

Read Matthew 26, Luke 22, Mark 14

4/10 - Good Friday Jesus spent the night locked in the dungeon of the High Priests house. Early in the morning Christ was brought before Pilate who sent Him to Herod who sent Christ back to Pilate. Succumbing to the pressure of the Jews, Pilate condemns Christ to be crucified. Jesus is nailed to the cross at 9am on Friday morning (the third hour) and dies 6 hours later.

Many Christians read the "Stations Of The Cross"

 

Read Matthew 26-27, Luke 22-23,      Mark 15

4/11 - Holy Saturday

Christ’s body is in the tomb but his soul has descended into Hades, tied up the strong man Satan and preached to those in prison (1 Peter 3:19, 1 Peter 4:6). 

Some will light a fire or candles as a reminder that Christ is our light in the darkness. 

Read Matthew 27, Luke 23

4/12 - Easter Sunday Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, the two Marys run to the tomb and find that the stone blocking the entrance has been rolled away. Mary Magdalene runs to tell the disciples and Peter and John race to the tomb. They enter and see the linen wraps that covered Christ’s body but Christ’s body is not there! He has risen from the dead! We celebrate his resurrection for the next 50 days until Pentecost - the descent of the Holy Spirit.

Worship online with your faith community

Read Matthew 28, Luke 24, Mark 16

Theologian Alexander Schmemann says that feasts, or holidays, are found in every culture throughout history. Even anti-religious, atheistic countries have their own holidays and they celebrate them with parades and processions and feasting and singing.

Humans need to work in order to live, but we need to rest in order to work. This gives rise to a rhythm of working and resting, and the resting is always experienced as joy. This is the first and most obvious source of celebration.

At a deeper level, our holidays/celebrations reveal the human need for meaning. They “give meaning to work, and therefore, to all life.”

The holidays that we celebrate shape and reinforce the story that we live in - the grand story that helps us understand the world and our place in it.

July 4th, for example, is the core American holiday. It is a celebration of our “Declaration of Independence” from England. It imparts an identity to Americans - that we are free and independent.

And so, as Christians in the USA, how does Easter - our most important holiday and celebration - shape us? How should the celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ shape us? It should tell us that we no longer have to fear death. Death has been defeated. It has been conquered by a great Lord. Death itself has died.

So how should you celebrate this week? Count it a blessing that life has slowed down, that you have time to re-immerse yourself in this story of ultimate victory.

Read the Gospels and try the "How To Be A Part" actions from above. Follow along with the events as they unfold during the last week of Christ’s pre-resurrected life. Place yourselves in the shoes of the characters in the story. 

We share the same story as Christ and his disciples. Their story will give meaning to our story.

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