Beyond The Ceremonies Of Holy Week

Jarlath Opara

Jarlath Opara

For weeks now we have been on it, fasting, praying, giving arms and abstaining from things for spiritual reasons. Those who go on several “green bottles” a day have either cut down to a reasonable number or stopped entirely. Those who are masters in flings have to sheath their ever smoking machetes, the list is long anyway, the truth is, there is a considerable reduction in risky behaviour among Christians who have been taken over by the Spirit of Lent and Holy week.

We have all come this far, with different experiences, challenges and of course with our commitment and dedications, flip-floping as we strived to get it done and dusted.

We all seek the face of God by fire or by force this period, trying to be more of religiously compliant Christian than practical spirituality driven Christians.

With the ceremony of Passion Sunday done last Sunday, the waving of palm fronts, the singing of Hosanna! Hosanna!!Hosanna!!! Of course not forgetting the redenation of the Passion of Christ, the mood of holy week automatically is in the air, so thick it can be felt.

To some it would be a reality relived, this is the time many stigmatists experience the very reality of Christ Passion, the flagellation, the pains of the thorny crown, the bleeding from all parts of the body etc. Though we may not be all stigmatists, in our own little ways, we all share in the mood swings that comes with the Holy week.

Holy week didn’t start this year, it has been on and would continue until the end of time.

As we approach this year’s Holy week, making it count in a very special way, different from other Holy weeks should be top priority.

Forty days fasting, prayer and arms giving isn’t a walk in the park. It takes a lot of energy, a lot of concentration and discipline to have a fulfilling lenten moments. What happens after has remained a very big question nobody lays claims on having answers to.

It appears to me that many of us approach lent and Holy week programs from the epicurean dimension of eat and drink, recogitate, eat again and recogitate.

The Spiritual weight many us gain by fasting, praying, abstinence and arms giving we lose days after Easter with such a rapid progression that outweighs the rate at which such spiritual weight was gained.

We have been living in this kind of vicious spiritual fluctuations, gaining and losing, losing and gaining, year in, year out , lacking in consistency, the only way to assure and guarantee stability and spiritual genuineness.

The ills we see in our society, in homes, churches and bussines areas are not signs of lack of spiritual awareness, but more of lack of spiritual stability and consistency. Today one is hot with all the lenten observances top-notch ,tomorrow the ashes from the burnt sins become the very spot one would be drown in.

Today we are all washed clean and sparkling, tomorrow back to the dirt, stinking as if we never had a bath, isn’t such a piggish life style?

Nobody grows with this kind of life style. The truth is, Christ died many years ago, the cross he carried, the crown of thorns he wore, the fall , flagellation and his eventual death didn’t just happen, it was done years back.

Each day should be a moment to remember and relive such calvary experiences, not with a mind of memorial rather, one that provokes per time emotional connection to his pains, agony and grieve.

Anything less will make us to be as vulnerable as we have been, zeal and passion without wisdom, religion and emotion without spirituality, conversion and contriction, moving two steps forward and three steps backwards. Who does it help?

It is not only during Lent and Holy week that drinking less alcohol, not gossiping, non indulgence to immoral and unethical behaviours etc are allowed. Beyond these periods, such spiritual observances should be encouraged and upheld if we must make good our lives as Christian.

Anything less, our comfort zone of spiritual compromise and unethical indulgence would continue to dominate our life.

Resolve to make this year’s Holy week enduring not a one off things , after which the drama continues. Look at your image and personality these forty days and see if you can maintain it and make it your real self not one that usually comes to use annually.

Look beyond the various ceremonies of Holy week and see if you can connect with the spirit behind them. Only then can all those liturgical rituals would become not only impactful but regenerative to our Christian living. Anything less, one is left with mere ceremonial events in retrospect.

See you on Holy Thursday!

 

Jarlath Opara

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