It happens most every holiday season: Christmas, Easter…even Pentecost. As a pastor, I become a time traveler. Today is the Monday of Holy Week and I am already celebrating the Resurrection. Because I have to prepare it all, I’ve already been at the Table on Thursday. I’ve cried at the foot of the cross on Friday. I’ve smelled the lilies of the Easter Vigil already a week before it happens. I’ve been humming Easter hymns all day today.
On the one hand it takes the anticipation out of it all. I know what’s going to happen before it already does. I know which hymns will be sung, what the liturgy will look like, and even what the theme of the sermons will be. I know that Jesus goes to the Upper Room, institutes the Lord’s Supper, washes His disciples’ feet, and then goes to Gethsemane to pray. I know that He will end up going to trial before Pilate, be whipped and beaten, and be crucified on a cross. I know that He will rest in the tomb Friday night, all day Saturday, and into the wee hours of Sunday morning.
And I know that He will rise again from the dead.
On the other hand, I get to anticipate the journey for all the members of the congregation. I know which members won’t miss a single one of the Holy Week services. I can already tell you the people who will really enjoy certain hymns. I have a heart for the congregants who will hear this years’ messages with an eye toward eternity…anticipating its arrival sooner than later.
In the end, Holy Week reminds us that all Christians are time travelers. We were present for the Fall in the Garden. We were rescued from the slavery of Egypt through the parted waters of the Red Sea. We were exiled in Babylon. We made the journey back home to Jerusalem. We were at the Manger. We witnessed the Miracles and listened to the Teaching. We supped in the Upper Room, cried at the Cross, and peeked into the Empty Tomb.
But the key to the time travel is the anticipation. As we walk the Via Dolorosa this week, we will be walking through the gem studded gates. We will walk the streets of gold. We will cast our crowns upon the glassy sea. We will circle the throne of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
The pastor isn’t the only time traveler in Holy Week. We all go back to the beginning of time and feel the effects of the Fall. We all cry at the cross. We all rejoice at the empty tomb. And we all feel the cool, smooth streets of gold beneath our bare feet.
Get ready for a journey of epic proportions. It will all end in the place where time never ends.
What does Holy Week mean to you?