At the heart of our faith is the Death, Burial, and Resurrection (DBR) of Jesus Christ. All of salvation history leads up to and goes forward from these pivotal events. We call it Holy Week because these events happened in the final week of Christ’s life and they were the culmination of Jesus’ ministry and purpose for coming to this world. To make this week more meaningful and to prepare for the joy and excitement of Resurrection Sunday, we suggest the following activities:
Jesus didn’t talk too much about fasting during his ministry, but the one time when he provided specific instructions on fasting, in Matthew 6, he started by saying “when you fast,” not “if you fast.” So it seems logical to conclude that Jesus expected his followers to incorporate fasting into their lives. Here is a thumbnail guide for fasting:
- Plan your fast. Decide the type of fast you will use and the reason for it.
- Tell only the people you must.
- Wean yourself off of coffee.
- Avoid Media
- Disconnect from people. Unplug from social media, internet and phone.
- Be aware of your emotions. Fasts can produce mood swings, which teach you to refocus.
- A fast will reveal to you that you have too many activities and busyness in your day-to-day routine.
- Be still and focus on God. That means study God’s Word, meditate and pray.
Assess and restore relationships.
We are commanded to turn to those whom we have wronged first, acknowledging our sins and the pain we might have caused. At the same time, we must be willing to forgive and to let go of certain offenses and the feelings of resentment they provoked in us. On this journey we are both seekers and givers of pardon. Only then can we turn to God and ask for forgiveness: “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matthew 6:12
- Make a list of the people in your life where there are troubled feelings or wrongs committed.
- For each name, write down how these feelings are negatively impacting your life.
- Write down what you have done wrong in the relationship.
- Write down any significant statements you feel you would like to say.
- Write down what holding on to this has been doing to you.
- Ask yourself what are you getting from holding on to it?
After you have worked on these lists and believe they are complete, set aside some time, and compose a letter. Using all of the lists as a guide, write down all the things you want to say. Write down all the things you are angry and hurt about, write down everything you want forgiveness for and any significant statements about the relationship. Use this letter as notes for a private conversation with the other person, or personally give the letter to the other person, or if that isn’t possible, burn the letter as an act of cleansing and moving on.
Seek forgiveness from God.
At the cross, God erases all our sins. If we really want to come out of this holy week completely clean, we need to first evaluate ourselves and make sure we are not hiding or holding on to any sin in our life. For example, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Ps. 66:18). I can’t grow spiritually; I can’t even commune with God if I am harboring sin. So there must be confession of sin in my life. As you and I face the reality of our sin and confess it, we free God from any impunity. If He wants to chasten us, we should accept it. If you feel that God is being rough, you ought to examine your life. You may be getting exactly what you deserve, and you ought to be willing to accept it. A believer must be dealing with the sin that retards his growth if he wants to grow.
Include music in your week that emphasizes the events of Easter.
Besides the list below, any worship song that highlights the name Hosanna. The word hosanna is from Hebrew which is short for hôšî‘â-nā’ meaning “save, rescue, savior.”
- Carman’s “The Champion”
- Keith Green’s “Easter Song”
- Fred Hammond’s “Celebrate (He Lives)”
- Alan Jackson’s “The Old Rugged Cross”
- NewSong’s “Arise My Love”
- Sandi Patty’s “Was It A Morning Like This”
- Matt Redman’s “Once Again”
- Selah’s “Were You There”
- Chris Tomlin’s “I Will Rise”
Watch a Christian movie.
There are many to choose from, Mel Gibson’s ‘The Passion of the Christ’ is especially appropriate for Good Friday. ‘The Ten Commandments’ or the more recent ‘God Is Not Dead’ can be valuable forms of entertainment for the whole family during this week.
Clean the House as a symbolic act.
Wednesday of Holy Week has been a traditional day in many countries for housecleaning from the Jewish custom of cleaning before Passover.
Read a blog post or book of apologetics.
Here is a great article that answers many questions concerning the resurrection of Christ, like: Why is the resurrection important? Why is Jesus referred to as “first fruits?” On what day did Jesus rise from the dead? Did Jesus have the same body after His resurrection as before?
Here is one called Historical Evidence for the Resurrection.
This one is called 14 Evidences for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ—and 14 References
Perform an act of selflessness or kindness.
Host a Christian Seder.
Make Resurrection Eggs.
Buy new clothes.
In some denominations, new converts were traditionally baptized at Easter. After the baptism, they would don new white garments to symbolize their new life. If your family has new Easter outfits, share with your children where this tradition came from.
We hope this is helpful in making your Holy Week a meaningful one. If you are not attending a church currently, you are invited to celebrate Easter at Playa Christian Church. For service time and directions, click here.