Approaching Holy Week on a Lenten journey

By the Rev. Janice Puliti,
Pastor, St. John’s UMC Ivyland

As we approach Holy Week, it’s always a good practice to ask ourselves how our Lenten journey has been going. Do we feel ready to ponder the impact of Christ’s death and to await His coming Resurrection?

If you’re like most people, your Lenten preparations haven’t quite been what you had hoped. You had meant to slow down and to spend more time in prayer and devotion. But life got in the way. And suddenly it’s Palm Sunday in just a few more days

And we wonder what can we do at this late date to grow spiritually and to honor our Lord?

I invite you to make Holy Week truly holy this year. Begin with worship on Palm Sunday. Hear the story of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and imagine yourself in that crowd chanting, “Hosanna to the Son of David!”

Wave your palm branches high, as we bless them in worship. Hear the choir sing “The Palms,” and join in the chorus: “Join all and sing His name declare, Let ev’ry voice resound with acclamation, ‘Hosanna! Praise to the Lord!’ Bless Him who cometh to bring us salvation.”

Join together again on Maundy Thursday with your church family and remember the events of Jesus’ last supper, followed by his arrest, his suffering, and his death.

Experience worship in the form of a tenebrae service. “Tenebrae” is the Latin word for “darkness.” A tenebrae service is an ancient service that makes use of gradually diminishing light through the extinguishing of candles. The increasing darkness symbolizes the approaching darkness of Jesus’ suffering and death. Hear the choir sing, “Even the Heavens Are Weeping.” And then watch as the Christ candle is carried out of the sanctuary.

On Good Friday, gather with members and clergy from other churches to observe the Stations of the Cross, as we prepare to walk the “Via Dolorosa” with Christ to Calvary.

So yes, it is possible to grow spiritually and to honor our Lord during this last week of Lent. And it is possible to prepare your heart to experience the joy of our Lord’s Resurrection and all that it means to us. I invite you to make Holy Week truly meaningful this year.

Adapted and republished from Cornerstone, the newsletter of St. John’s UMC Ivyland.