Dying for a Change – A Holy Week Journey (PDF)


DYING FOR A CHANGE – a contemplative liturgical journey through Holy Week.


Jesus died because he tried to change the way the world works. He knew that people in his day were literally dying—and would soon die in the inevitable Roman invasion—because of how their society functioned. And he dared to proclaim that there was a better way for humans to live together. Holy Week is the moment when we are most challenged to investigate and adopt Jesus’ alternative values, priorities, and ways of being. Because, as we saw in the coronavirus pandemic, people are still literally dying as a result of our broken systems. We are truly dying for a change.

This liturgical guide, DYING FOR A CHANGE, is offered as a resource to explore Jesus’ values and priorities and embrace his changed way of being. It is built around the Gospel accounts of various events in the passion of Christ: the triumphal entry to Jerusalem, the trial, the journey to the Place of the Skull, and the crucifixion and burial. Each chapter explores a need in our world—for truth, justice, help, compassion, and goodness—and invites us to live these life-giving values out in our lives. In this way Holy Week becomes more than just a remembrance of a past event, and becomes our story, our experience, and our moment of change.

DYING FOR A CHANGE includes a full script for the Maundy Thursday Tenebrae service and for a Holy Saturday Easter Vigil. There are fully scripted services for Palm Sunday and Good Friday, and contemplative scripts for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Together they promise to make the Holy Week journey a deeply meaningful and transforming experience.



Dying for Truth – Palm Sunday

The reality is that until we know who we are, and until we live truly, we cannot find the vibrant life we seek. We remain at the mercy of forces outside of us and we are constantly in danger of betraying ourselves. It was because Jesus knew this truth that he could enter Jerusalem to die. For those of us who seek to follow Christ, knowing who Christ is helps us to know who we are. Because as Richard Rohr famously says, ‘We become like the God we worship.’

Dying for Justice – Monday

We all long for justice and we want to contribute to making the world more just. But when the struggles facing our world are so huge, we’re not always sure what we can do. For many of us, the shift from looking the other way to making a difference requires nothing more than clear, practical guidance.

Dying for Help – Tuesday

The helping relationship between Simon and Jesus can be a guide to how we can truly help one another. It begins with us being willing to release the power dynamics between us and step into relationships of true mutuality. From this stance we can then find authentic solidarity and connection.

Dying for Compassion – Wednesday

Holy Week reminds us that life is difficult. But, in that suffering how do we respond? For some, our struggle makes us more selfish, and more defensive. For others, our struggle makes us more compassionate and generous. And that is the essential choice we are called to make.

The Tenebrae – Maundy Thursday

On this night we gather to remember. We open our hearts and minds to relive the pain and victory which have become for us the doorway to the eternal. We recognise the Shadows which encroach on every life, and meditate on that one moment in history when the Shadows seemed to extinguish the light entirely. We come in awe and in worship, for the darkness has never, and will never, overcome the Light revealed in the human life and death of Jesus Christ.

Dying for Goodness – Good Friday

One of the men who died next to Jesus mocked him, “Save yourself and us.” But that’s exactly what Jesus was doing. He was breaking the power of evil by stopping it in its tracks, by refusing to allow it to take hold of him, and by revealing its true, destructive nature.

The Easter Vigil – Saturday

God of Light, You call us into a new life. But for us to enter that life, we must be willing to let go of our old life. With Christ we must die, trusting in the resurrection to come.




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