“HOLY WEEK: Holy Time!”
by Rev. Dr. Brian Gigee
“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” – 2 Peter 3:8
God is timeless. The scriptures tell us so. God was there before there was a there… at the very beginning and God will be present at the very end… wherever and whenever that is. But, not only that… the scriptures tell us that God is present now. God is present here. For us. With us. Around us. In us. In spite of us. For all time. It’s a matter of faith. Faith matters. Especially, in times like this and for people like us.
For many Christians around the world, this week is a very special week. My tribe, the Lutherans, as well as other historic faith camps, call it Holy Week… a week where the church, over the centuries, has taken time to recall and reclaim the story of the life, death, resurrection and ascension of the rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth, hailed as Messiah, Son of God and king of the universe. We may not know exactly the day and time of year when Jesus was born, but we are very clear about what happened and when church and state colluded to bring his message to a full stop. Those are called the Three Great Days… Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. With Palm Sunday in the 2020 rear view mirror I write these words for a community I love knowing the Holy Week has arrived. And it is holy time.
How do we know when its Easter? Well, you first must look up and then look down. We look up to find the moon and then look down at our calendar. Easter’s celebration is always the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. Or in regular words… After March 21st when you get to the next full moon, pause and then go to the next Sunday and mark your spot. That’ll be Easter. If you need a second opinion, call the local rabbi… and to all my Jewish friends, a blessed Passover to you on Wednesday April 8! It’s been about 2000 years of remembering and for Jesus’ own clan, the Passover has been celebrated for 3000 years. In American thought… that would be like 3000 years of Thanksgivings… only more important… as Godly blessings and freedom from slavery are two unique but way different realities!
Yet, Holy Week and the holy time we will spend this year will be quite unusual. Rather than our churches being full to the brim on Easter Sunday, they will look and feel more like the Sunday after Easter where church attendance goes from its highest Sunday in a year to its lowest attendance in just one week. I’ve never really understood why that is the case, but in almost 40 years of ministry it’s very predictable. But, this year it will be more evident as local pastors and priests expect no one to attend on Easter except those who are required to assist in making worship experiences meaningful via live-stream social media. Holy Week. Holy time. Wholly different. Faith matters.
Last week, I found myself talking with a friend about the ‘whirled’ we now live in. Yeah, I know… it’s ‘world’… but lately it feels much more like ‘whirled’ and we are all asking… “Lord, how long will this last?” And when we find out the answer, we may not like it… so, we’ll need to take stock in the message of 2 Peter 3:8 so we don’t get our days and millenniums mixed up. Maybe trusting the mantra of our friends in AA and Al-Anon can help as they’ve turned to a new life just one day at a time… knowing… one day is all we get… as one at a time can be quite enough!
So, I wish you a blessed Holy Week and the holy time you spend readying yourself for Easter… however you get ready for this special day. God did a great thing on that first Easter. Everything changed as a result and please remember that above all. Decades ago, I heard the great preacher, Tony Campolo say this… “It’s Friii—daaay… but Sunday’s a comin’!” Amen. Holy Week. Holy time.
Brian Gigee is a long-time resident of Pearland and the lead pastor at New Life Lutheran Church located at 3521 E. Orange St. in Olde Pearland. Your comments and/or questions are always welcomed to [email protected] or you can follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Friend2theRabbi.