Monday, March 25, 2013

HOLY WEEK1111

Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week. Jesus enters Jerusalem. It’s a loud and glorious day in Jesus’ life. James Cleland called it the “happiest” day in Jesus’ life. You can imagine that to be so. Riding on a donkey, he is welcomed with open arms by those who wave palms. They welcome him in love and grace. It’s the beginning of Holy Week. We call it Holy Week because it’s Jesus’ last week on earth. A lot happens in this week. The events of this week are pregnant with meaning. A woman will wash Jesus’ feet with oil and clean them with her hair. Jesus will visit the temple to “cleanse “ it. Jesus will say: “My house will be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of robbers and thieves.” The Pharisees and others will move to end the Jesus’ movement by getting rid of Jesus. Passover will come on Thursday, and Jesus and his disciples will gather for the Passover Seder. A lamb will have been roasting all day long to prepare for the meal. Jesus will come to table at Passover as the head of his little family of friends. The youngest son, as in any Jewish family, will ask: “Why is this night different from all other nights?” And, they will tell and re-tell the story of how God, with a mighty arm, brought Israel out of Egypt. Then the Passover meal takes a turn as Jesus passes bread and says: “This is my body…” He blesses and passes a chalice and says: “This is my blood…” Next, in the most dramatic move of all, Jesus takes a towel and a basin of water and washes the disciples’ feet. It’s more than Peter can take; Peter tries to stop Jesus. But, Jesus insists saying: “If I don’t wash your feet, you can have no part in me…” And Peter says; “Lord, not my feet only, but my head and my hands too…” In a while after this, Judas will betray Jesus and the disciples will adjourn to the Mount of Olives for prayer. Soldiers will come to arrest Jesus and take him into custody. A mock trial follows. Jesus will be beaten and spat upon. And, after a long walk through the streets of Jerusalem carrying his cross, Jesus is crucified at noon on Friday. Now, what makes this holy is that it’s Jesus last week, surely, but more than that, we learn that somehow God will use the suffering of Jesus to redeem our own suffering. Because Jesus suffers with us, we do not suffer without hope. So, after a day of celebration on Palm Sunday, we enter this Holy Week, believing that the God who acted in Jesus is still acting in Jesus to redeem the world. God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, and he still is. Anyone who gets a good look at Jesus this week will not be able to turn away unchanged. Did ever such love and sorrow meet, or love flow mingled down? What wondrous love is this! The events of this week show us just how far God will go to have us, to save us. It’s worth a thought or two between now and Easter. Blessings! Dave Nichols

Comments on Lectionary - Sept. 1

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