Holy Week: dealing with deep sin is horrible, messy, prolonged, humiliating and painful

Apr 15, 2019 by

by Martin Sewell, Archbishop Cranmer:

As we enter Holy Week, the most sombre time of the Church calendar, I am sure I’m not the only one left reflecting that my Lenten observance has not been all that it could have been. Family events, political controversies, irritations at work or struggles with bureaucracy all intrude into our complicated lives, so that our alignment with Jesus’ 40 days of reflection in the wilderness become a poor and pale shadow of religious observance. Yet all is not yet quite lost. There is still Holy Week.

In this week, the pace of the story of our redemption picks up. Jesus begins to move decisively in his challenge to the worldly order – religious and secular – and goes up to Jerusalem for the great confrontation, the culmination of the work of his life on earth.

He will put the fear of God into his disciples, and they will fail him. It is a week of mounting trepidation.

To make up for my prior inadequacies, I shall be using these next few days to reflect upon and pray for those in a similar state of fear and trepidation: I refer to the various victims of our church who have been let down dreadfully by us, and now ask themselves whether there will be a glorious dénouement or a tragic death of hope and faith. I can save that statement from near blasphemous equivalence by saying that Holy Week points us to one solution, to one hope, and that is the redeeming love of Christ.

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