This weekend marks the beginning of the holiest week for Christians- and the busiest week for my church friends serving parishes. Multiple bulletins to prepare. Liturgies to create. Sermons to write. Palm fronds, Easter lilies, and plastic eggs. Special Music.
It’s The Big Week . . . for clergy and other church leaders. But most of the population will experience next week in a different way. Some have spring break plans. Others will park themselves in front of a television and suddenly care about college basketball teams that meant nothing to them last week.
The truth is that most of the culture will not be as into Holy Week as church people.
So, here’s my question: is the focus of our Holy Week swirl about event planning or connecting spiritually to God and each other? Do we believe that Holy Week events will make disciples? Or would our time be better spent serving neighbors who have no plans to come through the sanctuary doors on Palm Sunday or Maundy Thursday or Good Friday?
A friend of mine shared yesterday that his church – which meets in a building next to a public school with a high percentage of kids who receive a free or reduced price breakfast and lunch – is handing out grocery bags filled with a week’s worth of groceries to each student to take home. Every kids gets a bag so the free/reduced meal kids don’t feel embarrassed. Their spring break is also next week so most of those kids won’t get their usual breakfast and lunch.
This is a church that spends more time on providing services to the neighbors than providing services to those within their own walls. Gutsy.
May this be a truly holy week for us all.