Journey to the Cross

By Jack Connolly, Youth Pastor

Posted on April 1, 2015

The Scene: Tuesday Morning, March 24. Final Holy Week preparation meeting.

Me: Holy Week? Already? Are you sure?
Everybody: Yes, Jack. We’re sure.
Me: Okay. So same routine this year with the Palm Sunday deal and then the Thursday thing and Good Friday?
Everybody: [Stares Blankly]
Me: Oh yeah and then Easter!
Everybody: *facepalm*

Okay, well I’m not that bad. But sometimes leading up to a week like Holy Week, (well, seriously, what other week is like Holy Week), I find myself feeling like it’s all a bit routine.

I mean, didn’t we do all of this last year? The good news is that faithfully, just days before Palm Sunday, God does something to remind me no week is routine at St. Paul’s Bloor Street. Last Saturday, I was cleaning up from the Toronto Youth Night of Worship as some of our Small Groups prepared cakes to serve at the Cornerstone Community Dinner. It just hit me how much is happening at St. Paul’s, for the right reasons, using all the right people.

And over this week, as the community gathers to remember Jesus, to give Him glory, to mourn His death and finally, to celebrate the definitive miracle of our faith on Easter – God proves again that Holy Week is anything but routine. Holy Week is the break in the routine.

Perhaps I am more fortunate than most. I get to experience so much of the ministry that happens at St. Paul’s simply because I have the privilege of being here a lot. I also sympathize with anyone who, after hearing a scripture reading recounting one miracle or another, may find themselves thinking, “Well, that sounds great. It would sure help if I could have seen one of these things happen.”

I have heard the youth and young adults say variations of this many times over the last few years. I’m sure it’s something we all long for on some level. I remember saying something like that to myself as a child, just trying to wrap my head around the whole thing.

That’s why one of my favourite Holy Week traditions is something that Janet Earle, our Children’s Minister, brought to us called Journey to the Cross, where the youth and adult leaders get to lead the children through an interactive recreation of the events from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. On Good Friday several stations are set up throughout the building and adult tour guides lead the children as the youth recreate the final days and triumphant resurrection of Christ, through acting, dialogue, costumes, props and prayer. It’s effective and safer than time travel.

Of course the adults get to do much the same thing, through the four major services held from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. My wife Robyn and I first experienced St. Paul’s as new parishioners during Holy Week in 2009 and we were blessed and strengthened through them as we contemplated life in a brand new place. I hope you can join us during this Holy Week as we all take that journey to the cross together.