By Riley Manning/NEMS Daily Journal
The Rev. Jim Curtis, senior pastor of Tupelo’s First United Methodist Church, is in the midst of preparing for next week’s lineup of special celebrations leading up to Easter. Holy Week, beginning with Palm Sunday, tracks Jesus’ journey from his arrival into Jerusalem through his betrayal and crucifixion, before culminating in the resurrection celebration on Easter Sunday. Curtis spoke with the Daily Journal’s Riley Manning about the importance of Holy Week.
Q: How is the observance of Holy Week as a whole relevant to the Easter experience?
A: Trying to experience Easter without Holy Week is like coming in at the end of a movie. To really get an understanding of what Christ went through, it’s crucial to go through his trial, death and burial. To jump right to the end really truncates the experience. The events leading up to Easter build the anticipation, context, and meaning.
Q: How do you adapt to members who only attend on Christmas and Easter?
A: I definitely feel the need to reach those members because I don’t get many chances. I try to say things that connect with their lives and hearts. I try to encourage them to be a stronger part of the worshiping body.
Q: There are so many characters in the Easter story, is there any one in particular you especially relate to?
A: I actually relate to Mary Magdalene in the Easter story a lot. Mary Magdalene discovers the empty tomb, and Jesus appears to her first. She feels very astonished and overwhelmed. She has this incredible news and knows she needs to tell people, but she isn’t sure how.