Every April Concord and neighboring towns stage re-enactments of the start of the War for Independence. Some citizens dress up in homespun brown colonial clothes, others in red coats. They camp overnight near the Old North Bridge and other historical locations, and starting at dawn, they act out their parts in the history of the nation’s foundation. Crowds turn out, the young children all agog, as the colonials and regulars face off at the Bridge. “Col. Isaac Davis” seeing the smoke rise from the Center, shouts, For God’s sake will you let them burn down the town!? Suddenly, muskets are fired, men fall, the volley is returned. The musket explosions—later, the canon fire—reverberate in our ears! It is no longer a story on the page, but a drama that we feel we witnessed. We are changed from spectators into participants, from strangers into fellow citizens, as though we were there!
Every Holy Week and Easter, another, more universal story is re-enacted as Christians remember Jesus’ death and resurrection. Beginning on Palm/Passion Sunday, we re-experience the story of his suffering and ultimate vindication in the liturgies of the church that unfold, as though in real time, throughout the week. We go deep, in ritual and in memory, into what happened. From adulation, how the crowd can turn on a dime. How betrayal shatters love. How cruel people can be; even friends turn away. How chilling state-sanctioned violence is. And yet—when it is all told—how much more deep and broad and wide divine love turns out to be! Love, we remember, truly is stronger than death.
If you participate in the services of Holy Week, you can witness the transformation of tragedy into joy, as though you were there. You can experience the vulnerable tenderness of foot-washing and receive the deep hospitality of communion. You can face dread with courage.
You can sing songs of deep sorrow and loss and later, hear bells ring out the hosanna of new life. On Easter Day you can join the multitudes singing alleluias without holding back! When we participate in Holy Week liturgies of remembrance, Jesus’ dying and rising is no longer some old story on a page, but a drama so profound that we carry away a new template of meaning, found at the nexus of the gospel with lived experience.
Do come for the liturgies of deepest meaning offered in Holy Week.
Rather than an old story, you may discover a new light by which
your own life shines its particular ultimate redeeming joy.