"Celebrating Holy Week with the Hands at Work family has always been very special to me. It’s a space to be able to look again to the cross and consider what Christ willingly did through His death and resurrection. Jesus was born to die and, in doing that, won for me a life that He desires to be lived in all its fullness. Easter also helps me to surrender myself afresh to living a life that honours Christ and seeks to serve those around me. For me, it’s a time of thankfulness, self-reflection and recommitment.
This year I spent Holy Week with the Hands at Work family at Kachele Village, Zambia. As a community, we set time apart every day to walk through the story of Easter as told through the gospel of John: cheering with the jubilant crowds on Palm Sunday as Jesus was welcomed as a king, dwelling in the emptiness of loss alongside the disciples on Good Friday, and celebrating the victory over the grave as the sun rose on Sunday. That journey with Christ to the cross has always had a profound impact on me. How could things have changed so much in the space of a week? How does that crowd who shouted “Hosanna!” so quickly cry “Crucify Him!”?
In the quietness of Easter Monday, after the eggs had been hidden and hunted and the hot cross buns mostly devoured, I asked myself what had spoken most clearly to me during the week. In John’s gospel I was reminded of the overwhelming message Christ spoke to His beloved disciples: one of peace. It’s spoken so often in the account of Jesus’ final days on this earth. Perhaps Jesus knew, like His disciples, that we needed reminding more than once! So concerned for His dearly loved friends was Jesus that He spoke words of comfort to them as they prepared for what was to happen. In the midst of His own chaos and pain, Jesus responded in love and left His friends with a lasting promise: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27).
I began to reflect on how I treat those around me during times of personal sacrifice and trial. Do I respond in love? Do I call people to peace? It’s certainly a challenge for me to contemplate in my own life. And I know my actions speak far louder than my words do. But what I do commit myself to for the sake of others is to point them to the One who brings peace and comfort and love amidst the pain. Jesus promises that we are never alone in that: “I will not leave you as orphans”, He says (John 14:18). In a world full of trouble, Jesus declares Himself as the peace and the wonderful news of Easter is that He has already overcome the world. That’s something truly to celebrate!"
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Catherine Clarkson, International Volunteer (UK), reflects on Holy Week and the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.