Holy Week has begun for Christians around the world who are looking towards Easter and the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection from the grave.
Denise Godwin of International Media Ministries (IMM) paints a picture of that week. “I’ve been thinking about how Jesus entered Jerusalem. And he came in controversial and exciting times. The Romans were ruling Jerusalem. It was a situation that was less than ideal for the Jews. The tide would turn quickly this week for Jesus and people didn’t understand him, necessarily.”
Holy Week can feel like a dark week, and many this year feel that even more keenly as a coronavirus pandemic has swept across the planet, affecting billions of people. Churches have closed and people are shut in their homes, away from their family and friends.
Confronted by Holy Week
Godwin says the stories of Holy Week in the New Testament confront Christians living today. “It’s a great time to think about, ‘Who are we? who are we in Christ? How does our faith change who we are day in and day out when we are in hardship, when we are in challenges, and when we’re uncomfortable?’”
To this end, Godwin says IMM is working on a special project. “We are taking some stories that we already had on hand from the Gospels, people who met Jesus both positively and negatively. And we’re featuring those for our friends in the US or in the English-speaking world. We don’t usually do that. We’re usually working on translations. But we thought it was an important time to think about these stories in the New Testament and how they inspire us and challenge us [about] who we are in Christ.”
Godwin says this pandemic doesn’t make sense to Christians around the world, just as the events of Holy Week didn’t make sense to Jesus’ friends.
And yet, out of the darkness and hopelessness of Jesus’ crucifixion, ultimate victory over sin and death came through his triumphant resurrection. This hope alone can face something as awful as a global pandemic.
How can the Church respond?
Godwin says, “I wonder what God is asking us in these strange times of coronavirus, of quarantines. What cross is Christ asking us individually to carry? And what is He asking the church to do in these times that will reflect Jesus so much that people will come to know him?”
To watch the IMM videos on stories from Holy Week, as well as other stories from the New Testament, visit IMM’s Vimeo page here.
Godwin encourages Christians to pray for those who minister overseas during the pandemic, and for those isolated in hospitals and even homes.
This Holy Week, as the world faces a biological threat, Christians will celebrate the strange root of their faith, that Jesus, three days dead and buried, rose to life forever.
Stain glass windows depicting the Crucifixion and Resurrection. (Header image courtesy of Wikimedia Common)