For all of us whose lives are firmly planned in the church, there’s one week of the year that exhausts us more than any other. And it’s this one. Holy Week.
Extra services to plan.
Extra crowds to usher.
Extra bulletins to print.
Sadly, it’s the time of year that clergy complain most about.
Or church administrators talk about “getting through.”
And when it’s all said and done, the Sunday after Easter is one of the lowest attended services all year with the excuse “We’re all too tired to come back.” (And we really are).
Sometimes it’s hard to think the “extra” is worth it.
I heard a clergy friend recently say, “I worked so hard on my Maundy Thursday sermon last year and only 10 people came. What’s the point?”
I sat in a church council meeting a couple of years back when the leadership debated whether or not to have both a Maundy Thursday and/or a Good Friday service. The consensus was, “Oh that’s too much to ask folks to come to! We possibly couldn’t do both!’
I heard a member of a worship committee once offer about first time guests on Easter: “If the people really cared about church and God, they’ll come back another week on their own. We don’t need to do anything special for them!’
These encounters are full of frustration, annoyance and even anger, aren’t they?
These leaders didn’t want to give any more to Holy Week than necessary! If their efforts in previous years weren’t acknowledged, appreciated or supported (or resulted soaring attendance numbers the next month), then why bother?
But to all of this my church loving friends, put your best foot forward.
I want to remind all of us that Holy Week is our week if there ever was one.
It’s our week to show up.
The story of a triumph, the clash of money and power, service, betrayal, denial, death and new life is our faith!
Where would our narrative be without the Upper Room, the cross, the tomb and the resurrection?
How would we have anything to say the other 51 other Sundays without the message of Easter? The themes of Holy Week are what we believe!
So why not go for the gold this week and show up every time your church doors open? Why not plan and offer the best possible worship experiences we can muster up?
Why don’t we roll out the red carpet for our guests– even if we don’t see them again till Christmas?
Really, why not?
I know it can be exhausting.
I know it might be thankless.
I know you might want to crawl into your cave on Sunday afternoon and not come out for awhile when it’s over.
But do it, church! Embrace your week.
Preach your best sermons.
Show up on Thursday night, sunrise and Easter am too!
Love on your visitors.
Claim it. Name it. Own it.
Put your best foot forward, church. If you don’t who will?
And P.S. If you live in the Washington DC area and don’t have anywhere to go in particular this Holy Week, join me for services at Palisades Community Church. Learn more here.