It’s hard to put into words how meaningful Holy Week can be. It’s a tender time. We can experience the full range of human emotions when we hear all that occurred during the final days of Jesus’ life. A powerful spiritual practice that could be helpful is Imaginative Prayer. Here’s a brief description from Kevin O’Brien, SJ.
“Let the events of Jesus’ life be present to you right now. Visualize the event as if you were making a movie. Pay attention to the details: sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and feelings of the event. Lose yourself in the story; don’t worry if your imagination is running too wild. At some point, place yourself in the scene . . . Use your imagination to dig deeper into the story so that God may communicate with you in a personal, evocative way.”*
It’s traditionally not been my practice to preach on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday. The services I offer are focused on the congregation hearing the powerful stories from scripture and singing the songs of our faith. On Maundy Thursday (Facebook Live tonight at 7pm) the stories we will contemplate together are the events from that difficult day in Jesus’ life. The stories are specifically from the 13th Chapter of the Gospel according to John and the 14th Chapter of the Gospel according to Mark and include: Jesus washing the disciples’ feet, the Last Supper, Jesus in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, his arrest, a hearing before the Sanhedrin, and Peter denying Jesus. On Good Friday (Facebook Live tomorrow at 12pm) we will contemplate together the seven last words Jesus spoke from the cross. Those texts are: Luke 23:34, Luke 23:43, John 19:26-27, Mark 15:34, John 19:28, John 19:30, and Luke 23:46.
As you hear the stories during our worship services on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, pay attention to the details.
Imagine what this would all be like if you were to make these events into a movie.
Listen or sing “Were You There” and imagine yourself actually there.
Listen or sing “Jesus, Remember Me” and imagine Jesus’ interaction with the criminal crucified next to him who uttered those words.
Place yourself in the scene before you.
Stand at the foot of the cross.
Watch as Jesus washes the feet of his beloved followers. What if Jesus washed your feet?
Sit at the table and partake in the Passover meal.
Ask yourself how God is still speaking to you, personally.
May Holy Week deepen your faith and trust that God is with us, through it all.
* Kevin O’Brien, SJ, “Ignatian Contemplation: Imaginative Prayer,” https://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-spiritual-exercises/ignatian-contemplation-imaginative-prayer/
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.