March 25-31. 2013
Editorial: The Christian Golden Week
Translated by Lydia Ma
Some countries in the world have a lot of national holidays in April and May which fall only a few days after the other. As result of these holidays being so close to one another, some governments have arranged for their country to take an entire week off. This special occasion called “Golden Week” is currently observed in Japan and China among other countries. The holiday is in many respects similar to Thanksgiving or Christmas in European or American countries and people usually take time off to rest and to shop.
In the Christian calendar, the period of time beginning from Palm Sunday and culminating in Easter Sunday is a holiday full of drama. Passion Week could be considered as the Christian “Golden Week” because it takes us back to Christ’s final days on earth. Celebrating this week is important because it helps us appreciate the magnitude of Christ’s suffering and resurrection for our sakes and thus understand the essence of Easter.
Christians today tend to go through the motions of celebrating Passion Week and Easter without much thought or emotion. Perhaps it’s because we already know the story well and we also know how the story ends. However, our emotional detachment is unfortunate because it prevents us from sharing in the sorrow, suffering, joy, and triumph of our best friend, Jesus.
We would benefit a great deal from reflecting on the words of Isaiah 53 and from the words of Jesus while hanging on the cross as recorded in the Four Gospels. Those passages can help cement our conviction that Christ’s suffering and resurrection purchased salvation and new life for us. Furthermore, we will realize that we are conquerors in the greatest sufferings we will ever encounter in life because of Christ’s suffering and resurrection.
Christian stores have a variety of cross necklaces these days. Some necklaces still have Christ on the cross (crucifix) while others only have an empty cross. The crucifix is a visual reminder that God himself prepared the lamb to be sacrificed. However, it is difficult to see the joy of the resurrection from observing the crucifix. On the other hand, the empty cross without Christ hanging on it is a great reminder that Christ is God and death has no control over him. However, because such a cross has little visual effect, we are tempted to cheapen God’s saving grace or think of it lightly. Hence, we must remember that though Christ’s resurrection is at the core of our Christian convictions, it must be accompanied with the bitter cup and the arduous road to Calvary for this core understanding to be powerful and complete.
Distributing Easter eggs is our proclamation that we believe in a risen and living Christ and this is a good thing. However, it is also a good thing to pay attention to what Jesus said while hanging on the cross and to note his forgiveness and obedience, just as the centurion in Luke 23:47 did. Have you suffered and been reborn with Christ on this Christian Golden Week?