Holy Week: Gazing Upon the Doom and Gloom of the Tomb

This is a post from a few years ago that I thought would be relevant to re-post as we head into Holy Week. May it provide some [soul] food for thought to make for a meaningful and meditative week leading up to Easter…

I can hear the soulful music playing down below at the nearby chapel as I sit on my 24th floor terrace. It is beautiful, and yet, there is a sense of mourning and loss. As we look ahead to the Easter celebration of our resurrected Lord, we enter into “Holy Week,” giving us time to pause in somber remembrance of and reflection upon his death.

Up until a few years ago, this was a new thing for me. The church and tradition in which I grew up did not have a practice of marking “Holy Week” — the events that led up to the Easter celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. We just went straight to the good part! That is not a bad or wrong thing. But looking back, I think perhaps we may have missed out in understanding the full weight and significance of the resurrection by not slowing down to journey through the events leading up to it.

Over 2,000 years ago, on this week of the Church calendar, Jesus entered the tomb as a dead man. His followers and family members could do nothing but mourn. Their teacher, friend, companion and Lord was dead. I imagine they were riddled with confusion and doubt, wondering in the quiet of their own hearts: God, why didn’t You rescue Your Son from a horrendous death on the cross? Why didn’t You prove Jesus was who he said he was? Where are You in this pitiful portrait of human death? 

This week we slow down to remember our Lord Jesus who was falsely accused and crucified on the cross. All we can see is the doom and gloom of the tomb.

This serves as a sobering reminder to us, that just as we observed with the disciples, our faith will also be tested. In the “death” of broken marriages, failed health, lost jobs and sufferings of all kinds, we too mourn this week. But that is not all. We also wait, knowing the darkness of the tomb is not the end of the story. When all we see is the doom and gloom of the “tombs” in our lives, it is a call to persevere… in hope:

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)

How is your faith being tested in this season? What trials are challenging your ability to trust and hope in God? Whatever “doom and gloom” you are facing, be encouraged this Holy Week as we gaze upon the tomb of our Lord, for it is often in our going through the painful journey of sadness, confusion and grief that we can also stand firm in the fact that resurrection is coming. Light is coming. Life is coming. Hope is coming. Freedom is coming. Rescue is coming. Joy is coming. Healing is coming. Restoration is coming. Reconciliation is coming. Renewal is coming. Easter, yes, the celebration of our risen Lord, is coming!!!! That, we know, is a fact. So today and this week as we are tempted to despair in the midst of our darkened tombs, may we remember:

“Him who endured such opposition…so that you will not grow weary or lose heart.” (James 12:3)

This week, may we have the courage and discipline to slow down a little to gaze upon the doom and gloom of the tomb of our Lord. Read Luke 22-23. Sit with it. Feel it. Meditate on it. Let is stir you. And then wait. It will only make his resurrection that much sweeter.

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