Dear faith friends,
Holy Week draws near. Calling the week Holy seems obvious; what is holy refers
to God, and God certainly is the subject of Holy Week. But there’s actually more to
“holiness” than that.
The Hebrew word for holy in the Old Testament, qadosh, means separation or
withdrawal, and the related verb qadash is to set apart. In the Bible sometimes it is the
Lord who is holy (Isaiah 6:1-6) for God’s ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9).
Sometimes it is a place that is holy, as when Moses encounters God in a burning bush
that is clearly set apart as holy ground (Exodus 3:5). And sometimes it is time that is
holy, as when God “hallows” the seventh day of the week, setting it apart from the six
days of creation (Genesis 2:3).
Holy Week, then, is time that has been set apart for God. We set this time apart each
year to remember the final week of Jesus’ life, the setting for two-thirds of what the
church has since called “the mystery of our faith:” Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ
will come again. We can, of course, reflect on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus
any time we choose, but as people of faith, we have set this time apart for that purpose.
“We have set this time apart…” True enough, as the observance of Holy Week is a
human invention. But It is even more true to say that God has set this time apart for us.
When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son… (Galatians 4:4) The God who
created time chose a particular time to reveal his love for all time.
Novelist Frederick Buechner writes that “Power, success, happiness, as the world knows
them, are his who will fight for them hard enough; but peace, love, joy, are only from
God.” Holy Week is a time to receive what God alone can give. I invite you, then, to
choose to set apart for God this time that God has set apart for you. The dishes will wait.
The email will remain. This holy time will not. Make the most of it.