Original article appeared here.
I heard her singing downstairs, as always. My wife, one of the most remarkable human beings I’ve ever met, is also one of the most devoted followers of Jesus I know. She was humming “In Christ Alone,” and I, upstairs, was listening.
The reason for her song? Palm Sunday. It is the beginning of what is called “Holy Week,” the celebration of the biblical moments leading up to Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday (called “The Great Triduum”).
Ordering Our Spirituality Locks Us In
Spiritual rhythms come hard to us, and yet anyone who has ever followed an Advent devotional, attended a Good Friday service or fasted something they love for Lent, knows that a spirituality that has a little bit of order can be a good, good thing. Like having a solid drummer in a band, it’s easier to lock into the shared sound if we have a pattern that is consistent and reliable.
I have three suggestions for those wanting a bit of “spiritual rhythm” to make their Palm Sunday, Holy Week, Good Friday and Easter more meaningful. Some of these tools I’ve written/created, but there may be others you could recommend below these.
1. Get a devotional and follow it.
Devotionals are great because they provide an established rhythm to your reflection over Holy Week. They provide a brief meditation you can use to begin or end your day, and a little drink of water can be very refreshing in an otherwise dry time.
I use many tools for my devotional life through this season. I’ll note a few I and others have collaboratively created, and a few others, for your resource.
An Eight Day Easter Devotional
Palm Sunday Through Holy Week
This free download audio devotional takes you through Holy Week, from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. It is my favorite work we’ve done, and reflects on my devotional with Cook Publications, A Well-Worn Path.
2. Settle into some services, and make concrete plans to be there.
There will always be a Stations of the Cross service, a Good Friday service and an Easter Sunday service somewhere that you can plan to attend.
Make it a big deal with the family, and feast afterward according to the day. Palm Sunday should kick in with some sense of festivity; it is a moment to celebrate Jesus, the one who “comes in the name of the Lord.”
A few years ago, my daughters and I took in an Easter Vigil service that went from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. at a cathedral in Boston. The lights rising over the first hour, the blast of Alleluias at midnight, and the baptisms that followed to the sounds of choral and orchestral rejoicing were all wonderful markers of the most important event in human history.
3. Create an Easter playlist, and keep it running at home and in the car.
Like my wife singing in the morning, lock into the songs that hold you in the Easter message. Find your favorites, and buy them. A song in your heart will be the best devotional material you could have through Easter.
I love fresh worship music that takes me somewhere unique. I always love what comes out of the Morning and Night Collective every year (and I’m a part of it), as well as some of the usual miracles of projects that come out every year.
Burn a CD, and keep that Easter list in your car and on your phone for occasions you can make the musical choice to reflect on Easter. Then, play that list all week. When the Easter Season begins—Eastertide—you have 50 days to rock the Easter music. Lead up to it, and linger in the gifts of new life.
A Few Ideas to Get You Going
These are just a few reference points and resources to get you going. Share some of your favorite resources, and lean into an “ordered spirituality” to help you get the most out of the season.