Blog|The Rev Greg Kimura, Ph.D.
Almighty God, whose most dear Son went up not to joy but first suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace.
— BCP, p. 272 Liturgy for Palm Sunday
This Sunday, Palm Sunday, we enter Holy Week, the most solemn time of the year, preceding Easter. On Palm Sunday (and Good Friday), we hear the story of Christ’s final hours, beginning with the entry into Jerusalem, through his denial and betrayal, to Jesus’ death.
It is a defining truth and mystery of Christianity that to get to Easter resurrection; we have to travel through these dark days. No life can be eternal without Christ’s Passion and death on the cross. This is the essence of Holy Week.
Theologian and philosopher Cornel West calls this “the Christian tragic sense of life.” For West, Jesus’ suffering to bring redemption is the context through which we understand the world. Not all suffering is redemptive, of course, and suffering, in general, is not justified on that basis. Yet, we acknowledge that Christ died to save us from sin, from which we could not save ourselves. In the divine economy of salvation, the cross is unavoidable. This is the truth that is a tragedy.
For West, this gives Christians a clear-eyed view of the depths and perniciousness of sin — and an appreciation of Jesus’ redemptive act. Jesus endured the Passion out of love for us.
Holy Week is the last week of Lent. It is a time set apart in the Christian calendar. It crystallizes the self-reflection and moral self-inventory we undertake during all of Lent. It is also outside of time, forcing us to see ourselves in the characters of the Passion narrative. We become Peter and Pilate and the crowds.
We contemplate and inhabit, at least for the period of time between Good Friday and Easter, a godless world. We don’t do this for self-flagellation but to truly understand the sacrifice and appreciate the redemption arriving Easter morn.
Join Grace Cathedral as we walk the last days and hours with Christ. This Sunday at 9:30 am, we will begin folding palm crosses, followed by a single 11 am Palm Sunday service (no 8:30 am or 6 pm service, as was the custom before Covid). Then attend our many Holy Week and Easter Sunday services; here is the full schedule:
April 2, at 11 am: The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday
April 4, at 11 am: Chrism Mass
April 5, at 12 pm: Midday Eucharist
April 5, at 6 pm: Tenebrae
April 6, at 6 pm: Solemn Liturgy of Maundy Thursday
April 7, 9:30 – 11:45 am: Rite of Reconciliation (Confession)
April 7, 12:30 – 2 pm: Rite of Reconciliation (Confession)
April 7, at 3 pm: Solemn Liturgy of Good Friday
April 8, at 9 am: Holy Saturday Morning Prayer
April 8, at 9 pm: The Great Vigil of Easter
April 9, at 8:30 am: Easter Sunday Choral Eucharist
April 9, at 11 am: Easter Sunday Choral Eucharist with Brass and Timpani
April 9, at 6 pm: Easter Sunday Evening Eucharist
The Rev. Greg Kimura, Ph.D. (Cantab.)