From Pastor Charlie . . .

It's called Holy Week because the events from Palm Sunday through the Last Supper on Thursday and the Crucifixion on Friday bring God's redemptive work in Jesus Christ fully into focus. Easter Sunday, our celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, means nothing apart from what Jesus said and did in the final days of his earthly life.

We also call the Sunday before Easter "Passion Sunday" because it represents more than the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. That march into the capital was filled with all tension and conflict that would lead to his arrest and execution. The primary (although now largely obsolete) meaning of "passion," if you look it up in the dictionary, is "suffering."

What about the "Maundy" of Maundy Thursday? This odd word is a contraction of the Latin "mandamus", which means "law" (literally, "we command"). It was in the Upper Room during the Last Supper that Jesus explicitly commanded his followers to make love the law governing their lives.

And what about the "Good" of Good Friday? It's hard to see anything good in the excruciating torture of death on a cross. It, too, may be a contraction of the ancient practice of referring to the day of Jesus' crucifixion as "God's Friday." In the same way that "God-be-with-you" became "goodbye," God's Friday over time morphed into Good Friday. In any case, God offers you salvation through the death of Christ, a gift that is beyond good.

I hope to see you in church, not only during Holy Week and on Easter but throughout the month of April.

Charles Hambrick-Stowe