By Debby Giusti
The days roll by one after another and sometimes we forget to stop and savor the special moments God provides. This week – Holy Week – is one of those special times that call for prayerful reflection.
For Christians, Holy Week is a time to retreat from the world of today and remember what happened more than 2,000 years ago. We remember in a scriptural way, not with the recalling of events, but with anamnesis, a Greek term that means to make present something from the past so that what was and what is are brought together in the present moment. Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, Ph.D., in his blog post, “9/11: Remembering How We Remembered,” explains: “It is as if we are able to inhabit two separate points in time simultaneously. Time stops momentarily (and momentously), as ‘then’ and ‘now’ become the same.”
|The Last Supper, Carl Bloch, 19th C. [PD-US]|
This Holy Week, we are invited to enter into the passion of Jesus Christ, the long awaited Messiah, who suffered, died and was resurrected so that we might have eternal life.
Adam’s sin that drove us from the Garden of Eden is redeemed through the blood of Christ, freely given for the salvation of the world. John 15:13 tells us, “There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
|Ecce homo (Behold the Man), Antonio Ciseri, c. 1860-1880,|
Museo Cantonale d'Arte. [PD-US]
In our writing, we focus on various forms of love. The Greek word Storge is used for parental love. Philia refers to the love between close friends, Philautia is self-love, and Eros is romantic love. We incorporate all these forms of love into our stories.
|The Crowning with Thorns, Titian, c 1542-1543,|
Louvre, Paris. [PD-US]
The Greeks recognize another type of love, called Agape, as the highest form of love. Wikipedia defines it as “the love of God for man and of man for God.” It is the way Christ loves each of us. It is total, complete, and sacrificial.
Christ gave his life willingly so we might have everlasting life. As we reflect on Christ’s sacrificial love and his total giving of self, let us also think of our own stories and find ways to elevate the romantic love between the hero and heroine into sacrificial love, that total giving of self for the good of the other.
Sacrificial love is what O. Henry wrote about in his famous short story, “The Gift of the Magi.” It also represents Michael Hosea’s relationship with Angel in Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love. We recognize sacrificial love when police officers run toward the sound of gunfire, when our military deploy to war zones and when firefighters run into burning buildings. In my suspense stories, I often incorporate that sacrificial willingness for the characters to lay down their lives for the one they love.
Share ways you’ve used sacrificial love in your own stories or mention books you’ve read that include sacrificial love. Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for a copy of my Publishers Weekly bestseller, Amish Safe House.
|The Entombment of Christ, Caravaggio, c 1602-1603,|
Pinacoteca Vaticana. [PD-US]
I hope the Sacred Art shared today will enrich your Holy Week as you walk the Via Dolorosa—the way of the cross that leads to Calvary—with the Lord.
Wishing you a prayerful Holy Week and a joyous Easter as we celebrate Christ’s glorious resurrection from the dead.
AMISH SAFE HOUSE
Hiding in Plain Sight
The second thrilling Amish Witness Protection novel
After Julia Bradford’s son witnesses a gang shooting, hiding in witness protection on Abraham King’s Amish farm is the only hope the Englischer and her children have. Even as danger closes in, Julia is drawn to the community’s peaceful ways—and the ex-cop turned Amish protector. But when their location is discovered, can Abraham protect her family…and possibly have a future by her side?