Pianist and funnyman Victor Borge used to do a routine in his show where he’d set his music on the ledge of the piano and begin to play.  And the music would sound beautiful…but after a few measures, Borge would stop, scratch his head, and stare at the sheet music for a minute like something just wasn’t right.  Finally, a light of recognition would flash across his face.  He’d reach for the music, turn it right side up, and begin to play again…and all the notes would sound the same, except they were played in exactly the reverse order.

It seems to me, this is something like the “music” of Holy Week we find in the Gospels.  Like messed up music, Jesus’ final week is just so chaotic.  It seems to go against how we believe the song should end for our Savior.  We’re left wondering which way to set the music.  Is this the prelude or the finale?  Is it the beginning of the Messiah’s royal reign, or is it a song left unfinished with the final stanzas still to be written?

The song of Holy Week is one of paradox.  No one truly lives without first dying to the self.  No one ever finds true life without losing it first.  No grain of wheat can grow without first being thrown into the ground to die.  In the end, the song of Holy Week is neither prelude nor finale – neither the beginning of the kingdom nor the end of his own life.  Instead, it is the music of transition…and because of it, nothing will ever be the same again.

As we consider the events of Holy Week, how do we set the music on the stand?  Do the notes go up and lift us in graceful cheering?  Or do they go down and plant our feet in the crowd calling for Jesus to be crucified?  How we look at the music of Holy Week can greatly impact how we live our lives.  If we let it, Holy Week can be for us a time of transformation.  We can realize the fickleness of cheap talk as we watch the crowds dancing between praise and prejudice.  If we take the time to look, we can see clearly the many ways we crucify Jesus each day in our words and actions or the lack thereof.  And in realizing those things, we can commit ourselves anew to singing the song of Jesus, whether it’s a hymn of glory and joy or an ode to suffering or sorrow.  As we enter Holy Week with the finality of the cross and the joyful news of the resurrection and new life, which song will you be singing?