Mutuality: Traditions That Expand Our Understanding of Christ’s Last Week
Holy Week is one of my favorite weeks to be on social media! Even in years where I hear the voice of the Lord himself to take a REST from Facebook for lent, I always start back up on Good Friday. Am I trying to be disobedient? Naw! I don’t want to miss out on how differently churches “celebrate” or “observe” Holy Week.
Easter is celebrated in so many different ways: formal chorals, choirs, children’s drama, mime, etc. There are colors, flowers, dances, and foooooood!!!!! There are unique phrases you share with one another: “He is Risen” followed by “He has risen indeed”. Traditions that follow the church calendar are likely to embrace the full season of Easter (eight weeks) instead of making it about one Sunday. This allows the celebration of the resurrection to continue on. I mean we’ve just done repentance and fasting for 40 days-one day of celebration is just not enough.
In remembrance of the suffering and death of Christ some walk through stations of the cross, others proceed through the streets with a Christ figure carrying the cross, while yet others preach the last words of Jesus. #sevenlastwords And do you all know why Good Friday is called “good”? If not check this out! And why do so many of us in the west want to skip over the lament and mourning and get to good stuff of “Resurrection Sunday”? For that I’m gonna have to plug Soong Chan’s interview Prophetic Lament.
In many places around the world this procession happens in public. I mean like an actual reenactment. Many of us, especially if we live where we can still get a blizzard, remember the procession by passing out palms in a church building. Local pastors in my community saw it as an opportunity to protest the injustice in our community.
Keep your eyes open this weekend and learn from your bothers and sisters. Consider how a diversity of denominational and ethnic traditions might give you a new perspective on an unchanging story. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to bring us insight where we’ve lacked perspective on the holiest of weeks for the church. Don’t mock, judge, or compare other traditions. Engage them and thank God for this global family.
Want more artwork on Palm Sunday or Holy Week? Visit the blog posts of friend and colleague in worship Paul Neely from the International Council of Ethnodoxologist.