Washington, D.C.—This year, Holy Week coincided with a high-visibility legal battle about marriage rights. As Christians prepare to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection on Easter, the Supreme Court heard arguments on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.
Some Christians said the timing was a distraction, while others said it was fitting for various reasons. “What better week to issue a call to prayer than Holy Week?” wrote Rebecca Hamilton on a Catholic blog. She urged prayer “for all the world that [the] light of Christ will shine in the darkness of the human heart everywhere.”
The Rev. Vicki Flippin wrote that Lent and Holy Week aren’t only a time to reflect on our individual lives but also on our life together. “This is also a time…to prune that which is not healthy or helpful, to root out what is sinful, to return to God’s mission.”
The Rev. Dr. Cindi Love said she hopes the Supreme Court justices don’t wash their hands of gay Americans, as Pontius Pilate washed his hands of Jesus.
In other Easter-related news, a new survey showed that only 58 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Christians said they plan to attend Easter church services. The survey, conducted by LifeWay Research, also revealed that 20 percent of people said they hadn’t made up their minds about attending.
“Christians who automatically attend church on Easter should be mindful of their many friends, neighbors and family members who haven’t ruled out the idea of attending,” said Scott McConnell, LifeWay Research director. “It may be that a personal invitation is what would make a difference to them.”
Sources: Patheos.com, HuffingtonPost.com, ChristianPost.com
- During Holy Week, what’s the focus of your prayers and reflections? What are your thoughts about the gay-marriage battle coinciding with Holy Week? What parallels, if any, do you draw between the two events?
- In your opinion, does this legal focus take away from the sacredness of preparing for Easter? Does it make the time more poignant, offering reflection on rights and responsibilities? Explain.
- How should Christians respond to the renewed call for “marriage equality”? If you think marriage should be reserved for heterosexual couples, does it mean you’re bigoted or closed-minded? Does it mean you’ve “washed your hands” of people with different lifestyles? Why or why not?
- What would you say is God’s “mission” for his church in this modern era? What’s our mission, especially during Holy Week, as Christ-followers?
- How do you feel about the Easter-service survey? Why do you suppose so many Christians neglect to attend worship—especially on this important day?
- How do you determine whether or not to worship—on Easter or any other Sunday? If you attend automatically, is it because your parents make you? because you feel obligated to go? because you feel nurtured spiritually? Explain.
- Have you ever invited someone to church? If so, what reaction did you get? Who in your circle of acquaintances might be waiting for an invitation, and how might you extend one?
- Are you willing to go out of your way to introduce guests to your church, make them comfortable, and help them get plugged in? Are you willing to change your schedule or go beyond your comfort zone to accommodate their needs? Explain.
Scripture links: Isaiah 6:8; John 13:12-15; Romans 6:4-11; 1 Corinthians 9:22-23; Colossians 4:2-6; and 2 Timothy 1:7-10.