My Masters Program post course project included hosting four sessions of services focusing on Jesus’ last week on earth. Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday and ends with the Crucifixion. The components of the week that I prepared included a foot washing service, communion, Peter versus Judas, a candle lighting services, the burning of our written out sins to become ashes and a lot of teaching. After praying and talking to Bobbye, we decided to have 4 consecutive nightly services. To all of our surprise, the last night included 3 of the gals getting baptized in a jacuzzi and one baby dedication of 8 week old little Luke. Praise God!
I approached the week with fear and trembling, unsure if anyone would attend four consecutive evening services. I was absolutely humbled to think that any of these working women would go out of their way to attend additional meetings. In appreciation of their attendance, I greeted each woman with a hug and a big kiss on the cheek, especially on Night 1. Later in the week, the ladies commented that they liked being greeted with a hug and kiss. After all these years of teaching, I am planning on implementing Paul’s words in Romans 16:16 “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” First impressions even among friends leave a lasting impression.
The testimonials of the women who participated in Holy Week clearly had a life changing experience. I asked those women who did attend every night to send me an email evaluating the whole week. Most of them did and the overview evaluations are in the appendix. The preparation and presentation of Holy Week also brought to me a life changing perspective on the role of the Pastor. Baptisms and baby dedications as well as candle lighting services and ashes were all new to me. As a Bible study teacher and previous worship leader, I have understood the gifts of service but I did not ever grasp the differences in skill sets and callings of a Pastor. When someone is called to oversee all the ordinances of the church including teaching, worship, baptism and counseling, there is a different level of responsibility and accountability before the Lord as well as to His people. I was completely stretched and I am completely honored to have served in this capacity for four nights. I also appreciated the words of my Professor, Dr. John Wright as he so humbly said something like, “Well someone has to be in charge of picking out the carpet color in the church.” His words about the Pastor’s role rang in my ears each night.
As for an evaluation, the week was well received and the objectives were met. Lives were changed and the experience was positive. The women were engaged in the services and I had many comments of how they loved it. It is interesting to me that the Lord has given me an audience of women who want to be intellectually stimulated in their faith as the foot washing service was awkward and uncomfortable for them. This type of services covered many foundational Christian components and applications including reflection and communion, but they hungered for the Word. God definitely used this experience to clarify my gifts and talents as well as the desires of my heart. Women asked for me to consider presenting Holy Week again next year.
As for a recommendation, I do believe it is best to host Holy Week consecutively the week before Easter. Those women who did not attend each meeting and those women who only attended the Thursday night meeting regretted not making the added effort after all the testimonials were shared. Baptisms and the baby dedication were a definite highlight but not necessary for the impact of Holy Week. Thanks to all who participated and your continual support! Tonilee Adamson