Selah


Maundy Thursday. Good Friday. Black Saturday. Easter Sunday. It's so easy to take the Holy Week for granted because we are so used to it. It's so easy to just brush it off especially in places where it's not really celebrated-slash-commemorated. It was business as usual this week in this office. You'd never know it was the Holy Week unless you took a look at the posts in my FB News Feed. I had work this Thursday, I had work this Friday, and yes, I had work this Saturday, too (as always).

Thank God the Urreas were in a game mood this weekend. They had heard about a free Easter Musical showing near my place so we all decided to drop by and have a look.

The musical, entitled Heaven & Earth Rejoice (performed by the good people of Calvary Church), made our jaws drop. It wasn't Broadway-level spectacular, but it was still an awesome display of skill and artistry. The choir. The ballet dancers. The soloists. The musicians. The actors. The videographers. The amazing production staff. All these people giving up their talents for God. It totally blew us away in that 5000-seater auditorium.

And of course, the story. The Story of the Cross and the Empty Tomb never grows old. This Friday, when an officemate gave me a "Happy Good Friday" greeting, I caught myself pondering about the weight (or, sadly, even the lack of weight) that Christians put on these sacred days (I hadn't been thinking about Good Friday that much before her greeting - I was too busy moping because I was stuck at the office working).

True, some may argue against the festival's supposedly pagan origin-slash-influence. Some may say we shouldn't come to a remembrance of God's sacrifice and unfailing love just this one time every year - we should stay in awe of His great love and mercy everyday (I heartily agree) and make all the days of our lives sacred and set apart our worship to Him.

But, upon mulling about how the heart of the Holy Week is fundamental to Christian spirituality, I wonder why we don't often put as much importance to these few days as we do Christmas. I mean, we're all geared up for the merry season by the time the "ber" months roll around, but only the devout anticipate Lent and its consummation.

I believe the Holy Week is a beautiful, beautiful celebration-slash-commemoration as it paints God's love for us in deep, gritty lines and colours. The night He was betrayed, He stooped down to a servant's level and washed His disciples' feet. Then His agony went on from Gethsemane all the way to the cross at Calvary. I'm not sold out to re-enacting the whole pre and actual crucifixion process but if we just take the time to gaze in wonder at the Cross - gosh. Can we even comprehend how great God's love is for us that He - fully God and fully human at that time - would bear all our sins and hang on that tree in pain and agony? Can we even wrap our minds around the mystery of how that final act of sacrifice paves the way to grace, how the words "It is finished" means freedom and redemption for us all?

I'm realizing that Black Saturday is rich with its own beauty, too, as I believe it was the time that all Jesus' followers were pushed to the edge of hopelessness, because the kingdom they were setting their hearts on was, in a day, reduced to a heap of imaginary dust and rubble. I know a lot of us have been there - believing for a promise only to come face to face with big stone walls of disappointment.

But come Easter - come Resurrection Sunday - we are told that all things were and are made new. The tomb was empty, the stone was removed - Jesus came back to life, defeating death, giving us hope, giving us a promise of new life. The Cross moves us to worship and repentance; the Empty Tomb moves us to celebration and victory.

If you come to think of it, these days are really the ones that mark the central aspects of Christian spirituality.

Forgive me for writing a piece so lengthy and coming off as a bit preachy. But I want to share my thoughts as I selah - pause and consider thoughtfully - about how the Holy Week isn't just about long-weekends or non-long-weekends.

We sang this song at Calvary Church before the musical started:

Once Again (by Matt Redman)

Jesus Christ, I think upon Your sacrifice
You became nothing, poured out to death
Many times I've wondered at Your gift of life
And I'm in that place once again
I'm in that place once again

And once again I look upon the cross where You died
I'm humbled by Your mercy and I'm broken inside
Once again I thank You
Once again I pour out my life

Now You are exalted to the highest place
King of the heavens, where one day I'll bow
But for now, I marvel at Your saving grace
And I'm full of praise once again
I'm full of praise once again

Thank You for the cross
Thank You for the cross
Thank You for the cross, my Friend

Indeed, I'm in that place once again. Would you like to come and join me?

Selah.

Have a meaningful Easter, everyone! We are loved, we are saved, we have new hope and victory!


Heaven & Earth Rejoice! by Calvary Church