Midweek Message March 27, 2024

Holy Week


It begins with a joyful celebration. Palms waving, a parade, shouts of “Hosanna!” We get caught up on the wave of other people’s party. Join in. It may be confusing and not make a lot of sense, this impromptu festival, but gather in and we’ll make ourselves a part of it. After all, there is one among us who seems to be the center of all this shouting – “Hosanna!”
It continues with a commandment: Maundy Thursday – Commandment Thursday. “Do this in remembrance of me.” Such awe is evoked by the memory of God’s faith to our ancestors; such wonder by this ritual honoring our past. Settled in for the Passover feast, the wine before us, the unleavened bread of our wilderness wandering, Jesus takes the bread and cup and passes it around: “Take and eat; take and drink.” But then, we’re thrown out of awe and wonder into confusion: one of us will betray? From among us, our family of faith and ministry, the end will come? Not just confusion, but hurt – “Me? I will not deny you!” You are my guide and my path.
It is finished in the execution of a law-breaker, an insurrectionist. His pain, our horror. How can this be? We shared the meal with him just last night; we waved palm branches in the streets just a few days ago. Now we’re uncertain. The shock is too great; this must end our plans.
It holds power over our hearts and our minds – who can let go of such loss so quickly? All seems hopeless. We, too, might be arrested for backing his hopes and dreams and heretical teachings. What happens now? I believe we are lost. Our community is lost. The world is lost.
It begins. Who cares how or why, through God’s promises, Christ continues! There is new life, new hope, new joy where we thought – no, where we KNEW – that all was lost forever. No one can express in words the experience of the Living Christ. Alleluia! ALLELUIA!
Holy Week is a confusing, confounding, inspiring, full-of-wonder-and-grief-and-awe time in our religious calendar. Embedded in the events of this week are the whole life of the church, of each individual, and of the world. It is amazing to witness this connection between our lives and the rituals of our faith. Wherever you are at this time, may your life always come around again to new hope. 
In the Living Christ, amen.