On Sunday we enter Holy Week: the span of time that begins with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday), goes on to include the Last Supper and Good Friday, and culminates with the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday.
But that very first Holy Week wasn’t called Holy Week. It was Passover, when the Jewish people remember and celebrate their escape from slavery in Egypt. Jesus and his earliest followers gathered together to celebrate Passover, and it became for them a Passover unlike any they had experienced before.
For us, this Holy Week, this Easter season, is unlike any we’ve experienced before. Instead of worshipping together on Palm Sunday or Good Friday or Easter, we will stream services in smaller groups as we practice social distancing. Instead of our Easter breakfast or egg hunt together, we’ll be at home. Many of us won’t gather with our extended families or dear friends as we’ve done in years past.
If you know Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, you might recall the first line, which has been popping into my head this week: “Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents.” Of course, we know that’s not true at Christmas, and it’s not true at Easter, either. Easter breakfast at church, worshipping in our sanctuary, our children’s egg hunt, the gatherings with people we love—these are all special and meaningful. And yet, they are not Easter, not by themselves. Not without the death and resurrection of Jesus our savior, which we celebrate not only in this week ahead but every day, all year long, every single year.
As we enter Holy Week, I encourage you to meditate on Matthew 26:14-30 in preparation for Pastor Phil’s sermon tomorrow. Here we see Jesus mocked, betrayed, and beaten—and yet he is still Lord. He is still King. Easter has come and still comes again, friends, and we look forward to gathering with you virtually as we await it together.