HOLY WEEK 2018
Dear members of the Episcopal Church in Central Pennsylvania,
Grace and peace in the name of Jesus Christ.
As Holy Week gets underway, I find myself grateful for the traditions and the timeless liturgies of the Church that allow us to access all that God has to offer us in the Passion of our Lord. Through this week we are invited to walk with Jesus through the glory of his triumphal entry, into the temple to hear his final teaching, and to join him for the quiet of an evening where he will model servant leadership and break bread with us in the Upper Room. We are invited to accompany him to the Garden and to do our best to stay awake, as he prays, deeply, and bears his soul to his Father. We have the opportunity to follow him as he is carried away by the authorities, betrayed by a kiss, and to wait and watch in the courtyard. Stand, if you can, on the edge of the crowd as Jesus is taunted and questioned and mocked, and see how he bears his stripes. On Friday, join at the foot of the cross to keep vigil as Jesus draws his last breath and hear the Centurion’s cry of faith: “Truly, this man was God’s Son.” Watch as Joseph takes Jesus’ body and lovingly prepares it for burial, and, once shrouded and placed in the tomb, see the stone rolled in front, sealing tight the opening. Gather with the disciples as they grieve in the Upper Room and wonder, fearfully, what is next.
On the third day, wake early, and join Mary Magdalene; mother of James, and Salome on the footpath to the tomb. As the sun comes up, join these women in their pilgrimage to care for the one whom they loved and… be surprised, all over again, to find the stone rolled away and a young man delivering amazing news of new life.
Share in the wonder, the passion, the mystery and the glory of this story as Jesus, son of God, follows with faithfulness the call of his Father to create, for us, a new way — a way of eternal life.
I hope that you participate fully this week in the movements that, together, make up the grand gesture of Holy Week, and that can nourish your soul and lift your hearts. Step into each day with thanksgiving for the life and ministry of Jesus and for the might act that God accomplished on the cross, for our salvation.
I invite you to bring someone along with you who may need to hear the story of Jesus anew, or, maybe, for the first time. Share the gift of eternal life, given to us, and give someone else the beauty of a life lived in faith.
May God bless you this day and always.
The Rt. Rev. Audrey C. Scanlan