A WEEK TO REMEMBER

O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Collect for Holy Saturday, Book of Common Prayer, pg. 221)

For many Christians around the world, Holy Week is just around the corner. Beginning on Sunday, the faithful will follow the footsteps of Jesus as he enters Jerusalem for what would become the last week of his life. This week is set apart from others throughout the year, as it serves as the universal reminder that life does come to an end, even for the most beloved in our circle. The good news, of course, is that from death comes new life with God, as believed to be evident for Christians with the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

What follows is an overview of that sacred story, and how it is quite relevant in this season of life at Berkeley Preparatory School.

Palm Sunday will begin Holy Week, as many believers wave palm branches to welcome Jesus to the holy city of Jerusalem. He is not alone in his travels, as many faithful Jews are flocking to town to celebrate the Festival of the Passover. Early in next week, while in the house of prayer, Jesus knocks over the tables of greedy merchants, clarifying what it means to honor God by caring for one another. Meanwhile, greed overtakes one of his own disciples, Judas, who agrees to betray Jesus to Roman authorities for 30 pieces of silver.

When Thursday rolls around, Jesus gathers with his friends to share a meal. He speaks with them about remembering his life, knowing he is about to give it up for their sake. Not only are they to gather habitually to break bread, but they are to remember by serving others in his name. Jesus demonstrates this mandate by washing their dirty feet. After the meal, Jesus retreats to a garden to pray, aware that his time of great struggle is near.

Later that night, the Roman authorities show up to arrest him, as Judas outs him with a kiss. He is mocked, beaten, spat upon, unjustly prosecuted, and nailed to a cross. With the coming of Friday, Jesus will breathe his last, uttering God to forgive them, for they know not what they are doing. He is laid to rest in a tomb on Saturday, with a big stone rolled in front to block the entrance. The longest of all days will haunt friends and the faithful, for their beloved is gone, giving way to acute grief and mystery.

Holy Week then gives way to Easter morning, when his dear friends Mary Magdalene and the other Mary show up to the tomb, only to find him gone. Angels relay the good news that Jesus is not there because he has risen from the dead.

This sacred story holds a simple, yet profound truth: with death comes new life.

In the image above, the farmer is simultaneously harvesting this crops from this season, while plowing down the ground. In doing so, she celebrates the life that has been given, making way for new life to begin. So it is with the rhythm of Holy Week. And so it is with graduation, transition to a new division, or the ending of any season of life.

May we all have the courage to trust in the newness on the horizon, knowing that in death, God brings forth new life.
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Founded in 1960, Berkeley is an independent, Episcopal, college-preparatory day school located in Tampa, FL, for boys and girls in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 12. Approximately 1,380 students gather here from the greater Tampa Bay area to form ONE Berkeley.