Holy Week starts tomorrow (on Sunday) beginning the powerful last few days of Jesus’ earthly ministry. We talk about the cross event throughout the year in one way or another in our weekly worship. But this week is the most powerful week of our faith to remember Jesus. This is when we truly see the intersection of Christmas and Easter. What I mean by that is this is when we see the humanity of Jesus really struggle with the divinity of Jesus. The incarnation of God with us in human form crashes against the human will out of sorts with God’s will. And this week is the point when the humanity of
Jesus suffers the very worst that being human has to offer. And Jesus teaches us much if we just look closely.
While Jesus’ last week seems so foreign to our own experience, our own level of suffering, our own understanding, there is something profoundly recognizable. As we watch Jesus enter Jerusalem with Pomp and Circumstance, teach in the Temple, and then gather his friends to say goodbye and give some last lessons, we see an anxiousness, a suffering that is familiar to us. We see grief and pain. We see shame and loneliness. We see bullying and false accusations made. And in some of that, every one of us can relate at one point in our lives. Jesus is teaching us that even the Son of God suffered these hurts at the hands of others. A reminder that we cannot escape this kind of pain in life. But Jesus offers some valuable lessons in how to withstand it.
This quote is a long one but a powerful point of reflection as we prepare to hear the Passion story of Jesus’ last week. A reminder that Jesus modeled for us the most impressive act of trust when he eventually let go of his anguish while praying in the Garden of Gethsemane and trusted God. That moment when the humanity of Jesus fully trusted the divinity of Jesus within teaches us the importance of letting our humanity fully trust the beautiful and powerful divinity of God.
In this story we find reflected the universal experience of loss that plunges us into anguish, evokes cries for help in our weakness, and invites trust in God who is in, under, and beyond the present affliction. The alternative to trust and letting go is a hardness of heart that refuses the grace available to us in our ordeal.” Elizabeth J. Canham from Weavings
Jesus’ story does speak to our experiences of grief and pain. Jesus’ story does remind us God is in the midst of it all. And the antidote to ending up with a hardened heart that is unable to feel the wide range of emotions and soar with joy is trust. God offers us grace in the midst of our struggle even when no one else around us may. The invitation is to trust God’s grace more than we trust the negative voices of our pain. Is there something in your own life that you need to dig deep and muster the courage to display a most impressive act of trust?
I hope you will take some time and read one of the Gospel versions of the Passion this week. Join us for worship Sunday to hear the Passion as told by the Gospel of Mark. Or by Monday afternoon, take less than 20 minutes to go here for the link to see our reading recorded from Sunday. Attend a Maundy Thursday or Good Friday worship service (ours are at 7:00.) Please, don’t go from the joy of Palm Sunday to the joy of Easter morning without pausing at the Cross. That’s where Jesus’ act of trust is best modeled for us.
Grace and Peace,