Holy Week Reflections from Bishop Bard

Dear Friends in Christ in the Michigan Conference,

I greet you all in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the peace and power of the Holy Spirit as we enter the most significant week in the Christian year, Holy Week.

The week’s events send us on a roller coaster of human emotion and on a deep dive into human experience. There is joy and jubilation as the week begins. There are moments of edgy confrontation. There are conversations containing deep wisdom, the greatest commandment is to love God and love your neighbor. There are moments of intimacy, the washing of feet. There is shared food. One finds failure, betrayal, violence, injustice, and death in the week. So much human emotion and experience are encapsulated in this week, which we call “Holy Week.”

And it is a holy week because of the presence of God. Frederick Buechner writes that to say something is holy is “to say it has something of God’s mark on it” (Wishful Thinking). To call this week holy is to see that God is present, and the heart of God’s presence, according to the teaching of Jesus during holy week, is love.

God finds ways to speak wisdom, to create intimacy and community, to shine love in this week of jubilation and joy and conflict and wisdom and intimacy and sharing and failure and betrayal and violence and injustice and death. Holy week is holy because it reminds us that God does not abandon us in our failings, betrayals, and injustices. 

At the end of this week is where we see God most wonderfully and powerfully present. At the end of this week is Easter, is resurrection. Not only does God refuse to abandon us in our failings injustices, and betrayals, but God is able to bring forth new life. Injustice, failure, and death are all overcome through resurrection. God raised Jesus from the dead, this Jesus who spoke wisdom, touched others with healing, stood against injustice, formed beloved community, lived love. Holy week is especially holy because, in it, the power of God’s love is seen as the power to overcome and the power to bring new life.

In a world caught in violence, with ongoing wars, significant injustices, and depths of despair, we pray and work for holiness of heart and life, for the power of love to change and transform.

Holy Week is also a good time to ask, where do you most need to experience the holy, God’s loving power and presence in your life or in your church? Where do you need the healing touch of the holy? Where does the fire of God’s love need to burn more brightly for you and for your community of faith? This week, take time to reflect on, to pray for, and to live out God’s holiness, the power of God’s love. May Easter be for you all a time when the resurrection power of God’s love touches your lives profoundly.

Blessed Holy Week and Easter,

David Alan Bard
Michigan Area Bishop


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