For the first time, the celebration of Holy Week is part of ACU Chapel. For centuries, the last week of Jesus’ life has been a time for believers to come together around their central tenet of faith: the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. In the Christian year, it is the week immediately preceding Easter and the last week of Lent.
The week includes Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday) and Good Friday. It is also the first day of the new season, commemorating the last week of Jesus’ life on earth before his crucifixion and his resurrection on Easter Sunday. Although Holy Week caps the 40-day period of Lent, Easter is by far the most celebrated holiday during this time.
In order to better focus on the life of Jesus, Chapel this week will revolve around his last seven days on earth, with a different theme each day. On Monday, Russ Kirby, director of Student Services for the Graduate School of Theology, spoke about the Triumphal Entry; Tuesday’s speaker was Randy Harris, instructor in the Department of Bible, Missions and Ministry, speaking on The Upper Room. Wednesday will be a Taizé service focused on Gethsemane, led by Dr. Jack Reese, dean of the College of Biblical Studies, and Dr. Stephen Johnson, associate professor of preaching. The week will conclude Thursday with Women at the Cross, delivered by Dr. Jeanene Reese, Dr. Dena Counts, Dr. Kristina Campos and Anna Peters.
Mark Lewis, assistant dean for Spiritual Life and Chapel Programs, said the Chapel Office is hoping the ACU community will use this week to refocus on the true meaning of Easter.
“In this time of focus on the final events of the life of Jesus Christ, we hope to encourage the ACU community to draw nearer to our Father, to celebrate all he has done for his children,” Lewis said.
Reese, associate professor in the Department of Bible, Mission and Ministry, said this is also a good time to focus on the last week of Jesus’ life because it is during this time of year most of the world pays attention to these significant events.
“As Christians we focus on the death, burial and resurrection every Sunday,” Reese said. “This is unique because it’s a time when the world focuses on it, too.”