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To the people of God on the way to the promised end,
As we get ready to enter into the unfolding drama of Holy Week and witness how the worship of the crowds as Jesus enters the holy city of Jerusalem on the back of a donkey will be transformed into the jeering mob’s cries of “crucify him!”
The feet so tenderly anointed with perfume will be pierced by nails.
His troubled spirit will find voice in the Garden of Gethsemane where a friend and follower will seal his fate with a kiss.
Bread broken, wine shared will become an enduring sign of his suffering and our salvation.
As the prophet Isaiah (50:4-9a) reminds us: He will not be rebellious. He will not turn away. He will offer his back to those who beat him. He will not hide his face from mocking and spitting. And though charges will be brought against him, though he will stand accused, he will not be condemned or put to shame. This is the word that sustains the weary: our Sovereign Lord is near.
As we enter the time of palms and passion, it will be an Easter unlike any we have ever known. Our traditional ways of gathering and remembering and the people with whom we usually do so are unavailable to wait with us through the suffering to the resurrection joy of Easter’s sunrise.
Perhaps the invitation of this time is to allow ourselves to feel deeply the loneliness of Christ as Pilate washed his hands of him; as he was forsaken by friends and followers and even his Father, and crucified in the company of criminals; as the stone shut him into the lifeless, lightless place of a borrowed tomb. Perhaps, if we open ourselves fully to that loneliness, we will also begin to awaken morning by morning to a greater love for a hurting world and those within it.
May the passion of Christ be with you.
Yours in Christ