The week that changed forever

The week that changed forever

When I lead pilgrimages to the Holy Land, I often feel obliged to say something like, “We don’t know exactly where this occurred…but it’s somewhere near here.” Two thousand years of civilization has a way of changing the landscape! For instance, when you stand in front of the Western Wall (the Wailing Wall) in Jerusalem, you are actually standing about 80 feet above ground level at the time of Jesus. Sometimes, you need imagination to be a pilgrim.

But when you stand on the Mt. of Olives, when you walk down its western flank to a grove of trees called “Gethsemane”…a grove that includes trees that are 2000 years old…there is no question that you are retracing the footsteps of Jesus as he began the final leg of his rescue mission to earth; a steely-eyed trek into the heart of Jerusalem…enemy territory. 

This Sunday, what we call Palm Sunday, we retrace those steps. We will recall that Jesus rode a donkey…a clearly messianic fulfillment…through that crowd to the bottom of the hill, dismounted and continued on up the other side…walking right into the Temple square. Right into the lion’s den. For several days, he taught with ferocity and courage, seemingly daring his enemies to quiet him. And of course, they did. But not for long!

  • Join us in person this Sunday as we lend our voices to the eternal throng, singing, “Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
  • Join us in person this “Maundy Thursday” night as we recall and share the Last Supper in a singular service of silence and darkness.
  • Join us virtually on Good Friday for a vigil of prayer beginning at 6:00 a.m. and continuing every three hours. Your pastors will lead you through five “stations,” guided by Dr. Luke’s gospel account of this oddly named day.
  • And finally, join us for a glorious Easter celebration as we recall, and re-live, the triumph of life over death: Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. 

Get all the details about our upcoming church events during Holy Week (Maundy Thursday and Good Friday) as well as Easter here.

After a year like this…after two years like this…we need to be reminded that, in Jesus, life has the last word! And if ever there is a time when un-churched people are open to an invitation, this is the time. We will do our best to provide an inspiring message of life and hope. Will you do your best to bring a friend who needs that message?

Back to Palm Sunday…tomorrow, I will conclude our series on 1 Peter, speaking on what I consider to be the single most important leadership principle. I hope you will join me…and the rest of your ever-growing Chapel Hill family.

Pastor Mark