As our community is returning from Spring Break and looking to finish the semester this next month, we will be entering into the celebration of Easter through our Spiritual Life programming. The celebration of Easter is an essential practice for followers of Jesus, but I think sometimes we overlook the invitation to enter into the struggles Jesus experienced the week before his crucifixion, called Holy Week. 

In my pastoral opinion, entering into Jesus’ experiences the week leading up to his death during the Spring semester is perfect timing. What do I mean?

students leading worship on stage

To be honest, this feels like the heaviest part of the semester. After 10 weeks of classes - each with their set of papers, exams, presentations, labs and projects - students (and to be honest, employees, too!) feel the weight of their humanity. This feeling is one that connects us with Jesus in unique ways. As Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before he was arrested, we see the weight of humanity causing him to sweat drops of blood, and we hear him crying out to God to release him from the trial that lay ahead. He cried out for his friends to be near to him, and he entered into fervent prayer in order to connect with the Father.

Though what Jesus faced was heavy and created in him a desire to escape, he pressed into the promise that in these most challenging times, the Father was with him.


Our prayer is that students would know that God is present to us, especially as we stare into the final few weeks of the semester and wonder if we'll make it to the end. A couple of the ways we are inviting students into this truth is through two events during Holy Week:

1) On Tuesday morning in chapel on April 4th, we have created an immersive worship event called Stations of the Cross. Created by our student interns, and connected to the church's rich tradition of this practice, students will be able to "walk the path" Jesus walked on the way to his crucifixion. It will be a time of prayer, reflection, and singing as we enter into the final days of Jesus' life up until his death.

2) On Thursday morning in chapel, President Baker and our pastoral team will host a Maundy Thursday service in which we will reflect on the Last Supper Jesus shared with his disciples, and then we will, together, partake in communion as a way of entering into the experience Jesus' disciples had with him in his final moments.

immersive worship during chapel

My prayer is that you may encounter God in beautiful ways as you walk with Jesus during this Easter season.


Jamie Johnson

Dean for Spiritual Life and University Pastor

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