Why I Hate Holy Week and Why I Love It

I hate holy week. And yes, I’m a pastor. I really hate Lent too. No other time of the year do I feel more depressed; no other time of the year do I feel less motivated to do anything worthwhile. I go through the motions. I get my sermons done (barely) and I do the liturgy. Why this is I do not know. But I hate holy week, and the reason is, I have discovered after five years of this, is that no other time of the year do I really come face to face with the unbelieving human demon that I am like I do during Lent, and especially holy week. So I hate it. I am depressed, because I see that I am not pious. I cannot keep the fast. I cannot pray more fervently like I know I ought. I am weaker than weak. I have no discipline. I think that God does this to me on purpose, because if I got through Lent and observed every jot and tittle of Liturgical tradition, I would really be tempted to boast about how pious I was.

I love it because it makes me thirsty for Easter. I do not love the resurrection any other time of the year as much as I do after Lent and Holy Week. It is a refreshing message. It is like a drink of cool water after a hot and dry stint in the wilderness. My faith is not in vain. The things that I am doing week in and week out are not futile and meaningless, even though to the mortal eye it seems that way. The resurrection of Christ validates everything we do, say, and think as pastors, as Christians, as parents, as anything. Because if Christ lives, and is not buried in Palestine, but lives and breathes and blood runs through his veins and his heart beats like mine, then I also know that His Word is powerful, because it is not the Word of a dead person, but it is He Himself speaking. I know that the Sacrament that I distribute every week is not just ordinary bread and wine, but His true and living Body and Blood. I don’t know what I would do if we didn’t celebrate Easter every year. So for this, I love Holy Week.

I also love it because I love the fact that the violence of Good Friday means that God is done punishing sin, and not just sin but MY sin. The Cup of God’s wrath was licked dry by Christ on the cross and nothing remains. By His inebriation with God’s wrath I may now be inebriated by His mercy and love, for the Cup which He now gives is a Cup of Blessing.

So, that is why I hate and love Holy Week. Any other thoughts?

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About Rev. Paul L. Beisel

Graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN in 2001 (M Div.) and 2004 (S.T.M.); LC-MS Pastor and Adjunct Instructor for John Wood Community College; Husband of Amy and father of Susan, Elizabeth, Martin, and Theodore.
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5 Responses to Why I Hate Holy Week and Why I Love It

  1. katie says:

    Most excellent post, Pastor. Pretty well sums up the work of Holy Week, and the necessity of it.
    I hate it too, because I dread all those out-of-the-mainstream services to play for–having to be ready for so many unfamiliar cues, etc. A real chance to fall flat on my face (or off the organ bench).
    I hate that my pastor gets a little grumpy and reclusive, writing all those sermons.
    And I get my own martyr’s complex, because I don’t have the ‘luxury’ of sitting out one or another of the services–I can’t decide I’ve had enough church for one week. I have lots more to practice and lots more to worry about. Many cats to herd.
    But I love it as each service unfolds, when there’s no time to dread what comes next, but just to do it. Another layer of the week is peeled off (not just another duty checked off), and it’s all revealed again, how much I still depend upon that cross and that crucifixion.

  2. The Rev. K.R. Schaaf says:

    Pastor Beiesel,
    Amen, and Amen to you on your post. I could not have said it better and I feel the exact same way. I often refer to this as the the “marathon week” of the church with all of the services and it is a pain and yet a pleasure. I am going to link your post to my blog and annouce that someone has written for me what I have wanted to say for a long time. A blessed Holy Week to you.

  3. Lawrence says:

    Funny thing is, those of us on the other side of the pew don’t see you guys that way.

    What we see are pastors fully enganged in their most important duties to the congregation.

  4. Lawrence says:

    “He is Risen”!
    😉

  5. Pastor Beisel says:

    He is risen indeed.Alleluia!

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