A good friend of mine is currently enjoying his first pilgrimage in the Holy Land. He will spend his first week in the region of Galilee and then, like most pilgrims, make his way to Jerusalem. While in the holy city, he will trace Jesus’ last days on earth — holy site to holy site, prayerful moment to prayerful moment. He will move from the upper room to the Mount of Olives to Gethsemane to the court of Pilate to the pit where Jesus was imprisoned to Calvary and finally to the tomb. I’ve walked the path and visited the sites many times. I envy him.
During Holy Week, we will be making pilgrimage as a congregation. Rather than traversing the rocky, dusty roads of Israel, I’m inviting you to trace the steps of Jesus’ final days through the hallways and holy spaces of our church. On Wednesday evening, March 23 – during our regular MidWeek Fellowship time – we will gather in our Fellowship Hall to celebrate friendship. It will be a reminder of the private moments Jesus spent with his disciples during the week of his death. On Maundy Thursday, we will gather in the Parlor, at 7:00 pm, for an ‘upper room experience’ of the last supper. On Good Friday, we will gather in the Carpenter Chapel, at 7:00 pm, for a service of The Veneration of the Cross. This quiet, contemplative service offers the worshipper an opportunity to experience the darkness of crucifixion and offer God thanksgiving for the redemption that is ours through the life and death of Christ. On Easter Sunday morning, we will gather at 8:30am for Early Easter Morning Service on the Labyrinth (8:00 am in the Parlor for breakfast) and then at 10:30am for Easter Celebration in the Sanctuary.
I hope this movement through our ‘holy sites’ will give us a sense of the dynamic, passionate last week of Jesus’ life. In many ways, 847 Cleveland Street is our Holy Land, and I’m grateful to be on pilgrimage here…