Monday, March 30, 2015

Holy Week Thoughts, 30 March 2015

So begins Holy Week.  Depending on one’s tradition, it began on Sunday with a celebration of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday) or with a closer look at the Last Supper (Passion Sunday).  Either way, we are compelled to look more closely than before.  We are called not to parrot “talking points” of particular doctrines.  Rather we are challenged to evaluate our spiritual growth from last year to this one.

Simply “believing” in a certain thing can enable us to acknowledge a certain reality, but our faith in The Lord’s Eternal Covenant - for which Messiah Jesus is the “mediator” (Hebrews 9:15) – calls forth from us much more than an intellectual ascent.  In looking more closely at the Triumphal Entry or the Last Supper, we are compelled not to simply look at the stories from a safe distance; we are challenged to insert ourselves into the stories and evaluate our lives from that perspective.

Would we be welcoming Jesus into our city?  Would we be the one who betrays Him?  To look at ourselves honestly within the context of the human condition (which is fickle, at best) is to decide whether we would welcome Him according to our own expectations and demands, and then turn so easily on Him when we learn He is not meeting our personal expectations. 

In both stories we see a group (whether the throng in Jerusalem, or the small group in the Upper Room) excited about the possibilities or confused about what it all means, people who had seen or had heard about Jesus, friends who had traveled with Him.  Only days later will we watch the throng turn on Him and the small group abandon Him. 

Why?  Why would we today do as they did then?  To say we would not dare do such a thing is, I think, to be less than honest about the reality of our humanness and our assimilation into a culture that demands “e-z credit”.  That is, we want what we think we are entitled to now, but we will probably balk when the bill comes due.  We want all the goodness of this life, failing to remember we are only passing through.  There is much of this life we will not be able to take with us when our time is over, including our personal wealth and our loved ones.

To answer the question, however, as to why we would more likely repeat the destructive cycle is to admit we will not relive the experience ourselves.  We have, in the name of grace, deemed it to be unnecessary “works” that do not profit the soul.  We are to simply bask in the glory of our redemption.  Remember it, yes.  Relive it?  Eh.

As we reflect on the final days of Jesus’ life and ministry on this earth, we must be committed to learning more about ourselves and our commitment to The Church, the Body of Christ, and our commitment to one another.  In the Jewish Haggadah (the telling of the Exodus story at the Passover Seder), the faithful and their families gathered are called to “see oneself as though one had gone forth from Egypt."  Though “Haggadah” means “telling”, through the Seder the faithful are actually reliving the Story itself.  The faithful are not merely remembering but are attempting to relive the drama and the sorrow so as to be able to see and appreciate the blessing.

So must we relive these final days as if we are following Christ all the way to the Cross, for indeed this is the way of the disciple – for in Christ’s death do we find the Fullness of Life.


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