It’s another beautiful Monday. Yes, we are sheltered in place at home abiding by the directives of the governmental authorities awaiting the abatement of the impact of this novel virus that has encircled the globe. Nevertheless, it’s a beautiful Monday. We are also in the beginning stages of Holy Week wherein we observe the passion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. These words of the psalmist ring with a freshness that seems most appropriate today: “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24 AV)
One writer, Danielle Burnock, succinctly stated that “The passion of Christ refers to the week of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. It’s remembering the events of the week beginning with Palm Sunday when Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem and culminating in His suffering.” This is the week we ponder Jesus and His horrific sufferings and bearing of our sins. In doing so, we are mindful of God’s exceeding love for humanity wherein the golden text of Scripture aptly declares: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16, AV). We will spend the bulk of this week musing upon Jesus and the mighty work of salvation that He performed on our behalf beginning with this 118th Psalm and other Scriptures. I challenge you that as we celebrate Holy Week from home this year that you find meaningful and purposeful ways as individuals, and even as families, to reflect upon Christ and Calvary.
Perhaps it may seem strange to some that I would select Psalms 118:24 as an opening passage to consider this week. For after all, isn’t Holy Week a time of somber reflection? Indeed, it is. But it is also a week that reflects a story of triumph. Of a truth, the cross is an emblem of suffering and shame as the hymnist described it; but it is also a symbol of victorious hope in that it was transformed by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. From my purview, Holy Week is a week that places us in a journey from triumph to triumph, albeit there is a necessary stopover in the Valley of Death. We start with the cries of Hosanna on Palm Sunday being raised from the lips of the faithful. After Christ’s welcome reception, the drama of the week quickly shifts, and by week’s end, our Savior is crucified, experiences the pangs of death, and is buried in a tomb; but in the end He arises with all power from the grave! How comforting it is, even in times of crises, to know that the outcome will ultimately be good. Death, the culminating state of the week, gives way to resurrection! It means that we don’t have to wait until the end to be celebratory! Therefore, I say again to us all as we enter into Holy Week, regardless of all present dilemmas: “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24, AV)
Put a smile on your face and give God glory today! Think Jesus this week! Victory awaits each of us in the end!
Yours in His Service,
Bishop Lambert W. Gates, Sr.