A Tradition Unlike Any Other
Jim Nantz’s voice gets a lot of air time during March and April. Jim and his soothing baritone voice famously head up the broadcast team for CBS Sports, which covers the March Madness of the NCAA basketball tournaments and The Masters golf tournament from August, Georgia.
Jim begins each broadcast with these words, “Hello, friends.” But Jim has another catch phrase that he will utter dozens of times this week during golf telecasts: The Masters, he will say, is “a tradition unlike any other.” The phrase has become so connected to the exclusive Augusta National Golf Club that Augusta has trademarked that combination of words and one has to pay royalties if one dares to describe any other tradition as “a tradition unlike any other!”
But, here’s the thing: there is a deeper and more significant tradition than any golf tournament could ever be. The real “tradition unlike any other” is the ancient observance of Holy Week.
Followers of Jesus have been reliving the events of Holy Week for nearly 2,000 years because what Jesus experienced and accomplished during this span of days are central to our faith and central to our relationship with him.
In the upper room where Jesus and his followers ate their “Last Supper” together, Jesus asked his disciples to “remember and believe” what they were witnessing. Holy Week honors this command from the Lord. In the Elmhurst CRC community, here are the ways that we’ll remember the Gospel story:
- Palm Sunday: Just a couple days from now, Sunday worship will begin lively music and people parading with palm boughs throughout the sanctuary. Jesus entered Jerusalem at the beginning of Holy Week with the town singing his praises. We’ll do the same this Sunday. However, the crowd that chanted “Hosanna” changed their tune to “Crucify him” within days. Our worship this Sunday will end with an invitation to literally come to the cross.
- Maundy Thursday: On this decisive day, Jesus the Master washed the feet of his followers. They shared a Passover meal together in the upper room, but Jesus made a shocking addition: he equated the bread that was broken with his body and the wine that was poured out with his blood. On Maundy Thursday, Elmhurst CRC offers a concise 30-minute experience so we can relive the events of the Upper Room. You are invited to come at 8:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. to do just that. Each service will conclude with the opportunity to receive the Lord’s Supper.
- Good Friday: At 7:00 p.m., as darkness falls, we will remember Jesus’ crucifixion and death. The worship service on Good Friday will be led by our choir and include a variety of Scripture, beautiful choral music, and room for mediation. This worship experience will end in silence, honoring the grief that appropriately accompanies the death of a loved one.
- Silent Saturday: This is a day for personal spiritual practice and remembering. I have the personal practice of keeping silence for a while in the evening as a way of connecting to Jesus time in the tomb. Perhaps you can also carve out a few minutes to keep quiet on this day?
- Easter Sunday: I don’t want to give away the ending, but the story has an amazing finish! On April 21, we’ll get the full Gospel story in worship.
All of the above are invitations for you to deeply enter into the life of Christ in 2019 and be part of the family of folks that embraces the real tradition unlike any other.