What can be said about Holy Week that has not already been said? Probably not much. But permit me to make an observation. Right at the heart of the phrase is a contradiction. As you will see when we go into more detail about the name “Son of Man”, Jesus of Nazareth takes old or established concepts and tips them over, turns them round and spills out new truths. Like his zeal for turning over moneychangers tables, he will turn over your ideas if you will watch.
For centuries, millennia maybe, humans have nurtured the concept of special days, special places, special people, it is a useful way to nurture the mind and remind ourselves of a truth. But consider this. If this is Holy Week, what are the other 51 weeks of the year? Don’t get me wrong, I love the Easter season and all the special services, ceremonies, plays and events that surround it. I love to celebrate all that Easter means in that week. But I repeat it contains a paradox.
The “Son of Man” took a well known title and added a dimension that no one had thought of before. No one ever associated “Son of Man” with suffering. In the culture of his day it was the title for a superhero. We will explore this matter another time in depth.
The “Son of Man” who also took the concept of holy and shot it through with new meanings. His suffering was directed at making it possible for every week to be equally holy, every person to become a priest and every place to become a shrine. How?
I’ll tell you. Holiness now works from the inside out. Days don’t make you holy, places don’t make you holy (even though it seems easier some days and in some places to be holy!)
The Son of Man showed his holiness in horrible places and on difficult days with desperate people.
Look around you. Holiness radiates out from your centre into your world. This means your work is holy because you, a holy person, are doing it. Your acts, this week, are sacrifices and offerings because you are doing them for your God, in the name of your God. Every week of your year is a holy week.
There was a Greek philosopher called Aristippus of Cyrene who lived 400 years before Christ. He founded a school of thought based on the idea that the whole of life was about the pursuit of deep pleasure or “egoistic hedonism”. So important was this to them that they would often assess a person or a life with the question “Did he or she have passion?”
For them, passion was, at its core, about enjoyment, fulfillment and pleasure seeking.
What we call holy week also contains the story of the “passion”. As usual it contains a new meaning. It includes joy, fulfillment, meaning and pleasure but it also speaks of the suffering “Son of Man”.
You don’t have to make your weeks holy, he already has, that was, and is, his passion.
Work Well and Happy Holy Week!
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
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