A blessed Holy Week to you!
One of the meaningful journeys in the Holy Lands is to walk the Via Dolorosa, or Way of Suffering. The Via Dolorosa is the traditional route that follows in the steps of Jesus' last walk to his crucifixion. This route winds through many narrow streets in the old city of Jerusalem from the Antonia Fortress where Jesus was held after his arrest to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre known to be the site of his crucifixion. During normal days, these streets are crowded. People are bumping into each other. It is hard to get to each of the fourteen identified stations of the cross where people like to stop, pause and pray. During Holy Week, the crowds swell and it is a true feat of patience and desire to walk this path.
While we might not physically be on the Via Dolorosa, we walk with Jesus in his last days. This is what we as a people of faith do during Holy Week. We take each step with him. We began on Palm Sunday as Jesus entered into the holy city from the Mount of Olives through the Golden Gate. He made his way to the Temple Mount and overturned the tables of the moneychangers as people came from all over to celebrate the Passover and purchase sacrifices. Throughout the week, Jesus stayed with his disciples outside of the city but made his way into the Temple area each day to teach on what is called the "Teaching Steps" at the Temple. On Thursday, Jesus shared a Seder, Passover meal with his disciples and friends before walking across the Kidron Valley to the Garden of Gethsemane where he prayed and was arrested. On Friday Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrian before making this journey on the Via Dolorosa to the place of his death. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea were able to retrieve Jesus' body as they took it to the tomb. Early on Easter Sunday morning the women went to the tomb to prepare Jesus' body for its' final rest. The stone had been rolled away. Jesus appeared to his friends and spent the next forty days with them before ascending to God.
It is this amazing story that we relive every Holy Week. It is a story that we are reliving this week too. I feel privileged to share this time with you. As we worshiped together on Palm Sunday, we will continue to worship this week at firstumckenosha.com
Maundy Thursday, 7 pm Good Friday, Noon Easter Sunday, 8 and 10:30 am
In this time of the pandemic, I am reminded everyday that the church is not the building, but the church is the people. Each of you are church. We are church together. There are many ways I have been grateful for the meaningful ways we have been church. To name a few, I am grateful for
the friendships of our homebound and members - the commitment to weekly phone calls and cards.
children's Sunday School that happens through Zoom.
#hosannaathome that shared Palm Sunday with our neighborhoods
daily live Breakthrough prayer that binds us together
for the 722 food and hygiene articles collected on Palm Sunday for our community and for the drive continuing Easter Sunday
for the palms and blessings handed out in our parking lots
for staff that continue to work in new ways
for a new fellowship and prayer group on Zoom
for increased sharing of prayer requests
Thank you for being church, living and sharing the love of Jesus with one another. In the days ahead may be we strengthened by his love and the hope of new life that is ahead of us.
May you have a joyous and blessed Easter! I am so looking forward to being with you on Easter morning (even if it is by way of the internet)!