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The Obligation of Holy Week

 —  April 18, 2014 — 4 Comments

holyweekHoly Week means many different things to many different people.

People who serve in ministry are not exception. Many of us have some kind of awkward slant on it. I’m one of them.

It occurred to me that I view Holy Week like an anniversary date.

I don’t mean the actual calendar date of my anniversary, but the “date” you’re “supposed” to go on when it’s your anniversary.

  • “We should get dressed up. It’s our anniversary.”
  • “We should get dressed up. It’s a special church service.”
  • “I imagine we should go out and do something to remember our anniversary.”
  • “I imagine we should go out and do something to remember this holy day.”

Maybe you can relate. Maybe you can’t.

The “obligation” of an anniversary date can choke the life out of you when all you see is the obligation of it. It’s the same thing with special services your church hosts… you’re so busy working on getting everything ready for what you’re doing this weekend that you have no idea how to show up to everything on the calendar other people have planned, let alone to do so without a distracted mind.

  • So during the anniversary meal, you don’t have a conversation like everyone else but bury your head in your plate and try to eat slowly so you can have a quiet dinner without work/kids/obligations. 
  • So during the special Holy Week service’s songs, you don’t stand up like everyone else but instead bury your head in your hands and try to have a quiet, holy moment with God.

Keep struggling. It’s okay that you’re not okay on this. It makes you realize what’s important.

Consider:

  • What makes Maundy Thursday personal is when you realize the prayers Jesus prayed were for you, including that moment right then and there when you’re not “feeling Him.” Do you just struggle when you struggle, or do you struggle your way in His direction?
  • The most noticeable miracle of Good Friday is there was no noticeable miracle. Instead of God rescuing Jesus, He let Him rescue us. Have you breathed that in?
  • “Holy Saturday” - the day on the calendar between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday – is often ignored… mainly because we don’t know what to do with it. On Good Friday we remember the Passion of the Christ… on Resurrection Sunday, we recognize the fact that Jesus is risen. So what if Holy Saturday can remind us of the day when people weren’t quite sure if the “Resurrection” they hope for will happen.Imagine yourself as a disciple, wondering what was going to happen. Or what was happening. Or what had just happened. All they were experiencing was the full weight of death and lost hope. Can you identify?
  • The Resurrection reminds us that there are a lot of precious things we take for granted because we’ve “seen them a few times.” Sometimes we forget the story is much richer, much deeper than a historical event we honor at a certain time of the year. And yet… Easter didn’t just happen one time 20 centuries ago but is always happening. Where can Resurrection happen in your life today?

I’m coming up on my 20th anniversary with my wife this year. I feel the pressure to do something big and important.

Still, I want to use that “obligation” as my on ramp to what really matters… time with her… reinvesting into what’s important between us… seeing her for the “first time, yet again.”

on-ramp-sessions-480x330Which transforms it from an obligation into an on-ramp.

What does it practically look like for you to do that this year during this Holy week?

Tony Myles

Tony Myles

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Tony Myles is a youth ministry veteran, author, speaker, volunteer youth worker and lead pastor of Connection Church in Medina, Ohio... and he really likes smoothies.

4 responses to The Obligation of Holy Week

  1. I’ve been intiving friends and family to our church. I absolutely love our church and the way the pastors highlight following Jesus and what that looks like in our everyday lives today. I’m hoping to see many new faces!!

    • Tony Myles

      That’s awesome, Vanessa. I can’t think of a better time of the year to become completely undignified and completely intentional about invitations. Among many things, the Resurrection means clean slates for everyone. We just have to help hand them out.

  2. For centuries Christians have with good intentions celebrated “Holy Week,” which is an invention of Roman Catholicism. The Lord was crucified on a Wednesday, (Passover Day Abib 14 in the Hebrew calendar). The Sabbath following was the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (a “high day” John 19:31). The Lord rose at the end of the weekly Sabbath (Abib 17), thus fulfilling His prophecy that He would be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights as recorded in Matt. 12:40. He was seen by His disciples on the first day of the week.
    It’s impossible for Him to have risen on a Sunday and still fulfill His prophecy.
    His Word is true.
    Thanks for the opportunity to share this vital truth.

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