Holy Week Traditions and Reflections

Date posted: Thursday 01 April 2021

With travel coming to a halt a little over a year ago, some members of companion congregations had much-anticipated accompaniment trips canceled and postponed. The February Zoom meeting was a way to reconnect with Pastora Karen and Diego face-to-face…even though it was electronically. 
As we continue to walk in accompaniment, this edition of Caminando Juntos features voices from the SPAS and ILAG. Katie LeClair, youth director at Gloria Dei, writes about her experiences during an April trip. In addition, the Milagro students share drawings with their reflections and a vocal recording as we engage in our Holy Week journey together, one in Christ.


Turning Purple

A few years ago, a delegation from Salem Lutheran and Gloria Dei Lutheran traveled to Guatemala the week before Holy Week. Even then, one of my first impressions was that the entire country was possibly turning purple!


It seemed everywhere we went, residents and businesses were draping the Lenten colors over houses, businesses, churches and streets. I remember thinking to myself, you would never see so much uniform religiosity in the Twin Cities! Guatemala is so full of rich colors to begin with, but the amount of purple was very striking.


During our visit, we were able to worship with our friends in Guatemala City, and then spent the afternoon where we were served a delicious chicken lunch and then we helped construct a float that would be used in the parade on Palm Sunday. We cut foam, we glued, we painted, we used gestures when the language barrier tried to divide us and we had a lot of laughs. I wonder on the first “Palm Sunday,” when Christ rode into Jerusalem to the cheers of residents, if the preparations to celebrate him looked anything like our constructing of that float?


Our delegation was in another city for a different processional a few days later, where they lined the walkways with elaborate and intricate decorations of colored corn. (I’m sure there’s a name for this tradition, but I don’t know what it is.) It seemed like the entire village had come out to see the parade and as soon as the final float in the lineup went by, another group of people swept up the corn and it was as if it never happened. It was so striking to consider from start to finish all the preparations the neighborhood put together to welcome Jesus. This year, let us worship during Holy Week with an eye to a global understanding of cultural traditions that bring to life our own, and to invite Jesus into all of these places. Amen


Katie LeClair
Youth Director, Gloria Dei