Our church is starting "Passion Week" on Palm Sunday. I'm getting really pumped about it because it has been such a powerful experience in the past.
This year we're changing things up a bit from years past (we LOVE to change things). We're going to have a series of lunchhour and evening gatherings through the week leading up to Easter. Each gathering will focus on a few key events during Jesus' last week of earthly life, giving us a taste for what He went through for us. In the past we have done this chronologically, looking at what happened on each individual day. This year we are focusing less on the chronology and more on the themes.
For example, on Sunday we'll be focused on the Garden. Jesus begins and ends His journey to the cross here on the Mount of Olives. He begins with the Triumphal Entry, weeping over the city as He sees it from the road on the Mount. And the week ends there as well, with Jesus "overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death" and sweating blood from the intense anguish.
On Monday we'll be tying together Jesus' anointing at Bethany with His washing of the disciples' feet, a very moving juxtaposition of Christ as Lord and as servant.
Tuesday we will be looking at Christ's teachings during this last week. What were His last words? What was He determined to say before the cross?
Wednesday, we'll compare and contrast two important moments in the lives of Jesus' disciples; Peter's Denial and Judas' Betrayal. What did they mean? Why did they happen? How do they relate?
Maundy Thursday will be a presentation of the traditional Jewish Passover Seder meal, with teachings and explanations. This was the Last Supper Jesus shared with His disciples, where He institutes the Eucharist and confronts His betrayer.
Good Friday may be the most powerful Passion Week gathering of all. The film, "Passion of the Christ" is based on the traditional "Stations of the Cross", and we'll be teaching through the nine Biblical Stations, with opportunities for prayer, meditation, and experiential worship. AWESOME!
I can't wait for this. I get so excited every year when we start the prayer and planning process for these gatherings. I am praying that God will use this year to change even more lives than last!