This is a week to remember: a week for remembering and the most important week of the Christian Year. In this holiest season we recall the mighty works of God that won salvation for the human race. “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor. 5:19), and in the observance of this sacred season we tell the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
The triumphal entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, the last supper with the disciples and the washing of their feet, his arrest and crucifixion, and his resurrection from the dead, are all commemorated this week. Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil and Easter Day: this is the road that we’re walking. We don’t want to miss it.
Here are three things to keep in mind as we enter these next few days:
- We remember, but not in the sense of merely casting our minds back into the past. At the heart of the biblical idea is the notion that remembrance brings what lies behind us into the present, so that it can be powerfully present now. This week concerns our relationship with God in Christ today.
- It’s in the nature of liturgy to collapse the distance between then and now. It’s a way of enacting a present reality. When Jesus says, “Do this for the remembrance of me”, he’s not urging us to engage in the historical recreation of his final meal or of his final hours, but is inviting us to claim the power of his death and resurrection here and now through the sacrament of his Body and Blood.
- During this week we will be invited to identify with different actors in the story: with the disciples at the supper, with the crowd at the crucifixion. These are all importance identifications that the liturgy enables. Yet there is an even more important identification that we are bound to make: with Jesus himself, the One who incorporates us into his own risen life. When we celebrate Holy Baptism at the Easter Vigil, as St. Paul reminds us, we remember that we were “baptized with [Jesus] into his death” (Rom. 6:3).
This is a week to remember. It’s what’s happening in the Diocese of Tennessee, right now.
– Bishop John