A Holy Week writing and reflection exercise for your students.
By Sheri Wohlfert
Holy Week is the most powerful week in the life of a Christian. It’s a week to pause, ponder and pray. It can be a very powerful to help students take some time to stop and soak in the beauty, sorrow, sacrifice, and magnificence of this week. This activity would allow you and your students to reflect and write about the Holy Week cast of characters.
Christ became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:8)
Imagine for a few minutes what it would be like if Holy Week were made into a motion picture. Your first task is to cast yourself in one of the roles. I’m going to assume none of us would cast ourselves in the role of Jesus, so I’ve listed some of the other characters for you to select from. So … climb up in the director’s chair and see where you fit best.
- John – beloved, loyal friend … the only Apostle to travel to Calvary and weep at the feet of the crucified Christ … generous even to the point of taking the mother of Christ into his home; must be fearless enough to walk beside Jesus as he carries his cross and tender enough to comfort and console His mother in her unspeakable grief and agony.
- Peter – strong, faithful follower … until put to the test … must be willing to seek with all your heart the forgiveness and mercy of the loving Jesus after you deny him not once but three times.
- Apostles – must be willing to abandon all of your possessions to follow a man named Jesus who you don’t always understand … must make a commitment to tell Jesus’ story with enormous passion for the rest of your days … must be able to live with the guilt of falling asleep and running away to hide during the very hours your love, prayers, and support are needed most.
- Judas – must have serious issues with priorities and loyalties … demonstrate in living color how wealth and power can blind good judgment and destroy truth.
- Simon of Cyrene – strong, compassionate, and helpful spirit … must be willing to help another of God’s children with absolutely no regard to personal cost or gain.
- Veronica – courageous, tender, and loving, yet brave in the face of tremendous personal danger … must be willing to act spontaneously with unsurmountable compassion being your only motive.
- Mary – unfathomable obedience and absolute reliance on the strength of God the Father … complete surrender of every joy and every sorrow … flawless, sinless, and utterly selfless even to the point of unthinkable personal grief and torment inflicted on a mother’s heart.
- Pontius Pilate – curious, conflicted, and controlled by circumstances of politics and position … must feel deeply but lack the confidence and security to properly act on your beliefs.
- Claudia – (wife of Pilate) must be open to the promptings and stirrings of God in your life and possess the personal confidence and conviction to share those promptings without reservation even if others don’t respond in the manner you know is right.
- Chief priests and leaders – cowardly, deceitful, and dishonest … must prize authority, power, and vanity over all things … must be willing to hush or squash all things that might interfere with personal security and position … must have a great ability to distort or ignore the truth in the name of personal security and achievement.
- The crowd – must be willing to go with the flow … accepting of popular opinion and able to be swept up in the culture no matter the consequence of your actions … must be unwilling to form, voice, or defend a clear sense of right, wrong, truth, or justice.
After guiding students through the list of characters, ask them to spend some quiet time thinking about where they fit. Allow them to do some prayerful writing about where their thoughts led them. A Holy Week love letter to Jesus would be the perfect ending to this meditation and writing activity. Ask them: Which part fits best? If you’re like me, as you study the list you can see yourself in lots of roles … but that isn’t a positive thing. The roles I desire most seem to be the places where I give my most lackluster performances, and as much as I look hatefully upon some of the characters, I sometimes see myself in their role.
This week isn’t as much a “reliving” of an event as it is a “reflection” on their power to transform us into Christians, who love more tenderly, appreciate more deeply, sacrifice more obediently, and repent more wholeheartedly. It’s a week to be drawn in by the overwhelming and overpowering love of the Savior who endured all of this for US while contemplating the reality of the fact that our sins did this to him. It’s not a regular week, it has a title for a reason, make it your mission this week to live like you know this week is different: It’s holy!
Blessings on your day!
Sheri Wohlfert is a Catholic wife, mom, speaker, and teacher who writes from Michigan. She uses her sense of humor and her deep faith to help others discover the joy of being a child of God. Sheri also writes at JoyfulWords.org.
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