Baylor Spiritual Life resurrects Easter tradition of Holy Week

Photo illustration by Jed Dean | Lariat Photo Editor

By Stori Long

As the end of Lent approaches, Christians all over the world are preparing themselves for the celebration of Easter.

The Spiritual Life Center is giving students a chance to experience not just Easter, but the Holy Week leading up to it.

A Holy Week service open to all students will be held at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Seventh & James Baptist Church, located on Seventh Street and James Avenue.

“The idea is to take people through the whole week because often we go from Palm Sunday and jump straight to Easter,” Dr. Katie Long, director of Wesley Foundation at Baylor and United Methodist campus minister, said.

The service will include many different ways of experiencing Holy Week.

There will be several short sermons, or homilies, each focusing on different movements in the Holy Week, such as Palm Sunday and Good Friday. These sermons will be presented by leaders of different denominations, including Catholics, Baptists, Methodists and Lutherans.

The bringing together of different denominations is important to the Spiritual Life Center, especially in view of Holy Week and Easter.

“We are all Jesus-following people,” Ryan Richardson, director of worship and associate pastor at Spiritual Life Center, said. “We may have different theologies on some things but we can come together in Holy Week to observe Christ’s walk to the cross. There is no need for separation in observing this.”

Giving special observance to the week leading up to Easter and focusing on Jesus’ crucifixion has long been a part of Christian history and tradition.

According to New Advent, one of the biggest online resources for Catholics in the world, observance of Holy Week dates at the close of the fourth century in Jerusalem when crowds of people were recorded to meet together and hear Scripture and sing hymns.

The tradition continues in the hopes that Christians can better understand Easter by observing the Holy Week.

“If people are only in church on Sunday, sometimes all they get is the ‘Hosanna’ one Sunday and ‘He is risen’ the next and there is nothing about the pain and the sacrifice,” Long said.

Richardson agrees that focusing on the suffering of Christ is something that makes Easter even more significant.

“We won’t get to Easter at this service,” Richardson said. “But we will observe the death of Christ, and I think this is a good thing for Christians to do. … We know he is resurrected but the idea is that this will mentally prepare us for what Easter is and allow us to experience the resurrection better. The narrative leading up to the cross is what allows us to see and understand how magnificent it is.”