As the time drew near for his return to heaven, he moved steadily onward toward Jerusalem with an iron will. — Luke 9:51


We are nearing the end of our Lenten journey, preparing to enter the Passion of Jesus.  I had to remind myself the definition of the Passion of Christ.  The word passion comes from Latin passionem, meaning suffering or enduring.  The Passion of Christ refers to the week when Jesus “set his face toward Jerusalem,” entering the city in triumph, through those final days before he was crucified and that long, long Saturday filled with shock, confusion, and profound sadness.  Finally, we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Christians call this Holy Week.  For some of us, it’s difficult to do the hard work of Holy Week, recognizing and accepting what Jesus suffered.  It’s much easier to jump from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.

Holy Week might be compared to the Jewish Days of Awe, the ten days between Rosh HaShanah (the new year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), a time for self-reflection and making amends.

During the Days of Awe — and let’s include Holy Week, as well New Testament Scholar Amy-Jill Levine encourages us to ask:  How could I have been a better me?  How could we, as a community, have been a better us?  What do we need to do to move forward from regret and remorse to correction and to action?

I wonder how our Easter Sunday celebration might be different if we really experienced Holy Week this year.


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