10 Progressive Ideas for Enlivening Your Holy Week Experience

1. Attend a public demonstration protesting oppression in honor of Palm Sunday and the “triumphal entry.” Stand for justice for Trayvon Martin . Stand for immigration justice, racial justice, environmental justice. And if you don’t know what those are, Palm Sunday is the day on the Christian calendar to find out.

2. Read The Last Week by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan and delve into the rich depth and complexity of the week set against its historical and sociocultural backdrop. The chapters are divided into the days of Holy Week, which makes it the perfect guide for experiencing each day of Holy Week as each is depicted in the Synoptic Gospels.

2a. Last Week is an older book so if you’ve read that or if you prefer something more theological and less historical-critical, consider giving Tony Jones’ excellent new book A Better Atonement a read.

3. Follow the Book of Common Prayer’s services for Holy Week, or better yet, commit to attending each service during the week. Look especially for churches that hold late-night Easter Vigils, Tenebrae services or Good Friday services without Eucharist to heighten the connected drama and tragedy of Holy Week.

3. If the BCP is old hat for you, try using a different prayer book, like the 1662 Prayer Book, or a prayer book from another country/continent. Connecting our worship either to our long-passed forbears (that great cloud of witnesses) or to our brothers and sisters across the globe can be powerful. A particularly arresting prayer book for its poetic beauty is the New Zealand Prayer Book, though you won’t find that online because of copyright issues.

3a. If liturgy isn’t your thing, try praying a different version of the Lord’s Prayer each day.

4. Imagine your own unconventional Stations of the Cross. Draw, reflect or write about each station from the perspective of a different character in the stories. For instance, draw the scenes from the perspective of Pontius Pilate, or Judas, or the servant whose ear Jesus healed in the garden. Let your imagination run wild and you might be surprised to find a Jesus you never imagined waiting on you.

5. Walk a Labyrinth.

6. Take a vow of silence on religious language during Holy Week. The starkness and tension of purposefully falling silent during one of the most vocally religious weeks on the Christian calendar might help us to spend more time listening for the holy during the Holy Week.

7. Wash some strangers’ feet. Better yet, go to a soup kitchen and wash some homeless strangers’ feet, and maybe you might find your heart burning.

8. Experience Holy Saturday, or follow my Holy Week meditations.

9. Consider that Jesus was guilty and investigate how many other people in America’s prison state might be serving unjust sentences.

10. On that note, visit the captives and prisoners. Protest the death penalty on Good Friday.

About David R. Henson

David Henson received his Master of Arts from Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, after receiving a Lilly Grant for religious education for journalists. He ordained in the Episcopal Church as a priest. He is a father of two young sons and the husband of a medical school student.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jennifer-Edwards/1196313106 Jennifer Edwards

    Thanks for the ideas. It seems that most of the Christian bloggers that I follow are Episcopalian (me too!). Guess I found the right church for me!

  • maggie

    I don’t see that the Christian faiths have forced the practices of Holy Week on anybody.
    I only protest what I see as evil and I lack the knowledge and background to declare Holy Week as needing protest. However I do like the creative suggestions for newer ways of celebrating that week

    • http://www.facebook.com/unorthodoxologist David Henson

      The title of the previous post was a fun play on words. I’m not really suggesting people protest holy week itself, but to reimagine holy week as a week of protest leading up to Good Friday/Holy Saturday.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X