A Blessing for Holy Week

Mar 27, 2024

Tom Cramer

During Holy Week, as we move from betrayal to mourning to exhalation, I am reminded of one of my favorite passages from our Book of Confessions.  I suppose it resonates with me because it is brutally honest about who we are and about what we need from God. More importantly, however, it tells it straight about who God is and what God expects from us.

God never seems to water down things like working for a more equitable world, or treating all people with dignity, or mending broken relationships. So I like passages like this, because they tell me things that are true about myself and that I need to hear.

Yes, I could be worse than I am, and so could all of us when it comes to investing ourselves in God’s reconciling work in the world. But the journey of Holy Week, at least to me, reminds me that “even though my conscience accuses me,” God has another idea for our lives.

So be challenged by these words from the Heidelberg Catechism, Answer #60, and be blessed by the “nevertheless,” which fuels our faith and gives us power to be Christ’s ambassadors of God’s love and justice in a hurting world. “Even though my conscience accuses me

of having grievously sinned against
all God’s commandments,
of never having kept any of them
and of still being inclined toward all evil,
without any merit of my own,
out of sheer grace,
God grants and credits to me
the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ,
as if I had never sinned nor been a sinner,
and as if I had been as perfectly obedient
as Christ was obedient for me.

All I need to do is accept this gift
with a believing heart.”

                                                (Bold added for emphasis)

I could go on for hours about how incomprehensible this mystery is and how God looks at me “as if I had never sinned nor been a sinner,” but let me end with this benediction:

If you think you can’t forgive yourself or others,
God has another idea.
If you believe you don’t deserve love,
God has another idea.
If you believe you can’t start over, or even something new,
God has another idea.
If you think you can’t make the world a better place,
God has another idea.

God has the final word over all the words that are not from God, and so during this special week as you mourn and wonder and eventually exalt, may theyring truer than they ever have so the world may hear them too.