The Disciples in Holy Week

In the cycle of the church year this is what the ancients termed Holy Week. Originally, the emphasis was on the two days leading up to Easter. In the fourth century it became an entire week of commemoration and fasting as the liturgical observances were modeled after the developments in Jerusalem. Some churches observe a special remembrance every day of the week; many churches, like ours, observe Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. These services, focused on scripture, symbol and music, are especially necessary in a culture that banters to turn our attention away from Christ.

As we move through Holy Week, my mind wanders back to that first week and particularly the disciples who witness the confusing, exhilarating, sorrowful and mysterious events unfold. Their emotions run from the highest high to the lowest low. They have no idea how one event will lead to the next; they have no way of knowing what implications will follow as Jesus moves through the temple out into the streets and into the homes of people who welcome him. For the disciples, the entire week is a roller coaster ride in which they are prevented from seeing around the next curve or over the next rise. Unlike us, they are flying blind—all they know for sure is that Jesus calls them to trust him.

One of the reasons that I long to engage in the observances of Holy Week is that I am reminded of the disciples’ journey and in that remembrance I understand a bit more of God in my journey. Despite knowing the outcome of Christ’s life and mission, why do I struggle to trust? Why am I anxious about whether or not God can be trusted? Why do I hesitate to believe that God is in control and that God knows what he’s doing and that I will never go wrong to put all of the weight of my life on him?

And yet I do struggle to trust. I am anxious about God’s faithfulness. I do hesitate to believe. I suspect you do as well.

During this Holy Week, as we engage in the special moments of remembrance and mystery, let’s think about the disciples and the ways in which their faith is stretched and ask God to help us be willing to let him stretch our faith as well.