This is the name given by Christians to the week that brings us to Easter Sunday. It’s an interesting idea to say that a week is holy and has made me think about what that word means for me. For me to be ‘holy’ is to be in some way in relationship with the divine (for me God) and to allow that sense to infuse the time, space or people I encounter. So this week the invitation is to encounter the holy in all that brings us to Easter.

The story that this week marks contains so many of the hopes and fears that concern each of our lives. Starting with Jesus arriving in Jerusalem with all the sounds of hope and rejoicing from people who seek a better life and can imagine this happening within the existing civil and political system brought about by this man. That hope is within the week dashed and turned to cynicism and from there to anger. The crowd that was hopeful, turns on Jesus, and backs the authorities in their condemnation and sentencing of him. And stands by to witness this.

So far this doesn’t sound very much like a holy story. There doesn’t seem to be much of God; of mercy, of love, of compassion infusing the events and yet…

For me the holiness of this week is caught up in that realisation that I have within me all the emotions and feelings of those crowds – I can let my hopes rise when I see flickers of change, my cynicism surge when those flickers fade and moments of anger that things haven’t worked out as I imagined – and that those feelings don’t have to be the cycle that I endlessly encounter. The presence of God, I believe, breaks into this cycle with forgiveness, vulnerability and ultimately a new hope.

The solemn events in Churches and online this week, will remember Jesus’ arrest, trial, suffering and death, they will remember the fickleness of the crowd, the hand wringing of politicians, the fear of the establishment, and the resulting cruelty.

And on Easter Sunday, Christians will remember that these things don’t have the final word, that on the other side of this is love, and hope, and forgiveness, and joy and new life. The belief in the resurrection, that Jesus, in his divinity, appears to those who love him and offers hope in a life beyond that which we can see. This part is an act of faith, and act which calls on those who seek to understand and believe to be people of compassion, justice and love. Surely all things that can bring holiness not only to this week but also beyond this into all our weeks.

May you find moments of holiness (however you understand this) during this week, moments that as the opportunities and hope offered by an easing of Covid-19 restrictions bring you to places of love, joy and compassion. And as you do feel free to share these with me to m.holland@newman.ac.uk.

Margaret Holland

 

Categories: Easter

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