Australian Rugby player Israel Folau has made some very provocative statements this week both through his social media account and also through comments made at his local church. While his judgemental comments on social media have gained the most attention in the media, it was his comments that because the major Christian festivals of Easter and Christmas were not biblically substantiated then we should not observe them, that interested me most.
As much as a small part of me would love nothing better than stopping work after this Sunday and have an extended break as I opt out of Holy Week, and start back at work the day after Anzac Day, I honestly can’t imagine anything but doing Holy Week Hardcore.
While it is true there is nothing in the bible that says we should all observe Easter Day and make it special. It is also true that Jesus has only needed to die once, has already been at work and the Holy Spirit has been at work in the Christian Church for almost 2,000 years and we don’t actually need special days set aside for us to come close to God. We can come to God any and every single day of the year… The reality is that we don’t, we get caught up in our own worlds, our own self-interests and get distracted by the expectations of ourselves and others, rather than living in the identity that Jesus claimed for us by his death and resurrection.
Everything we do in Holy Week while not being prescribed by scripture, is actually motivated by scripture, is accountable to scripture and points us directly towards scripture over and over again. In the fast paced self-obsessed world we live in, Holy Week can be a well needed Berocca to a faith that has felt tired and listless. Even if you are feeling that all is well with your soul, Holy Week can strengthen, deepen and sustain. What we focus on this coming week is really about everything that matters for followers of Jesus. We remind ourselves we grow in our understanding, we deepen connection and we bring the truth of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to the very front of our minds.
So, I will unashamedly advocate for doing Holy Week and Easter Hard Core. Not because I want to see our numbers swell, but because I know that my faith always deepens with personal connection, and also because I get to witness those around me obviously deepening their faith.
We have a lot going on in our church this week. There is a lot going on in most churches. I would encourage you to come to as much of what is happening this week as you possibly can. Know that I will be praying for you to strengthen and deepen your faith and I pray that those who visit our church will experience the hope we share. Happy Hardcore Holy Week!