Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Holy Week & Triduum: Participating in Salvation History and Eternity

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”
-Galatians 2:20
In Holy Week we participate in the event of our Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, his Last Supper, his Passion and Resurrection. These are not simply past events to be remembered, nor are we simply “reenacting” episodes from Jesus’ life. Rather, they are spiritual realities—eternal realities—in which we are invited to participate.
As we celebrate Palm Sunday and then the three days (Latin: Triduum) from the evening of Holy Thursday to the evening of Easter Sunday, we participate in—indeed, partake of—these central events in Salvation History. 
The Christian life is all about our participating in Christ. Even toward the end of his life, the Apostle Paul prays “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10, emphasis added). The New Testament calls us to such participate in—share in—the saving work of God.
During Holy Week we participate in Salvation History. On Palm Sunday we participate in Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem with shouts of Hosanna! Perhaps these were shouts of praise, but “Hosanna” ultimately is a prayer, a cry to God for help: “Save us!” Jesus, of course, will save them and us but in a way far different—are far more painful—than they expected.
On Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday we participate in the Lord’s Supper. On Good Friday we join Mary and the Apostle John around the cross and mystically share in Jesus’ dying. Beginning with baptism all believers participate in Jesus’ suffering, for we are “baptized into his death,” states Romans 6. “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Dying to our old fallen nature and rising from the waters that buried that old self, we are called to live every day only for Christ. Along with Paul each of us is invited to say, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). How clear this reality becomes as we enter into that death with our Lord again each Good Friday!
Finally on Easter, we join with all the hosts of heaven as we sing, “Christ the Lord is risen today!” As we do so, we join afresh in the Resurrection. This is not simply a commemoration of the past, nor is it simply looking toward our future resurrection. It is both, but beyond that we truly share with Christ. We participate in this the central event of Salvation History. Moreover we share in eternity as, the last of Charles Wesley declares: “Ours the cross, the grave, the skies!”
© 2017 Glenn E. Myers 

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