Archbishop Rowan Williams on the meaning of Holy Week

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In all sorts of ways Holy Week really is the most important week in the Christian year because it's a week when we discover in a way we don't at any other time just we are and just who God is....

...on Good Friday we are not only discovering something unwelcome about ourselves, we are seeing Christ's arms extended to us on the tree of life as the old Hymn says. We look at Jesus as the source of new hope because we see in his sacrificial love what God is willing to do for us. We see that he knows and understands our darkness more fully than we do ourselves and still embraces us and takes us forward and that becomes absolutely real and concrete in the events of Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday morning.

We gather in darkness on Holy Saturday evening. We gather to listen to the story of how God brought light out of darkness at the very beginning and how God's pillar of cloud and fire lead his people through the desert. We celebrate the way in which God set his people free in the story of the Exodus, and we listen to all those prophecies of how God will honour his work and his word and bring it to completion in Jesus. And so we are drawn into the great mystery of Easter, we come to the point when the lights are fully on, the candles are all lit and we can celebrate a light that has dawned again on the world. We've been taken on a journey all week from darkness to light, from the darkness of not really understanding ourselves to the light of seeing God's face clearly and seeing ourselves; from the darkness of recognising our own failures and our sins into the light of hope and forgiveness. And that is why as the first Eucharist of Easter begins we pull all the stops out quite literally, the organ plays, the bells ring and we recognise that the journey for this week, for this time, is over. We've come home to where Jesus is. The risen Jesus is standing with God the Father pouring out in the Holy Spirit his love on the world and we just stand there for a moment at Easter receiving that, basking in it as you might say. We've come on a journey, we've come home and we know that that home is always there for us in the accepting, compassionate love of God which has paid the ultimate sacrifice to make peace between heaven and earth.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Rowan Williams* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterHoly Week

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Posted April 8, 2012 at 4:18 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]
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