Pathways through Lent

Passover and Holy Week

by Kathryn Pharr

Monday in Holy Week

Jeremiah 12:1-16 Psalms 51, 69:1-23 Philippians 3:1-14 John 12:9-19

The weeks of preparation are complete. The house has been cleaned from top to bottom; everything is now in its proper place. Eager faces smile at each other from across the table as the first cup of wine is poured. The ritual, the story, begins again as it has every year for centuries. It is the story of the Exodus, the struggle and hope of the Jews for freedom. With cries of, “Next year in Jerusalem,” it is a joyous and reflective evening. Tonight is the beginning of Pesach, Passover.

The parallels of Passover and Easter are strong. Both are bittersweet stories of trial and struggles that end in hope. Both religions arduously prepare for these holy days. In our scripture, Jesus is in Jerusalem to celebrate Passover; Maundy Thursday and the Last Supper happen at a Seder, the meal of Passover. St. John’s often celebrates a Seder meal as a reminder of the Judeo roots of Christianity.

This Holy Week is our final chance to prepare for the greatest Christian holiday: Easter. For forty days, we have tried to prepare ourselves by abstaining, praying, and numerous other activities. Lent has given us a quiet opportunity to reflect on what we need to do to be ready to receive the Risen Lord.

Just as things are put in order for a Seder, so we must arrange ourselves to be the willing receivers of the coming good news. To do this, we need to make time. Delve into the full experience of Holy Week in the coming days: the humbleness of Maundy Thursday, the chance to grieve on Good Friday, and the anticipation of Holy Saturday. Each of these days is crucial to fully participate in the exuberance of Easter Sunday.

Table set for Passover (Image from Wikimedia Commons)

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