This week is all about as Jesus says, "In remembrance of me." This week started out with Jesus' triumphant return to Jerusalem riding humbly on a donkey. He is celebrated as the King of the Jews. While on the other side of town, Pilate rides in with all the pomp and circumstance afforded a Roman Governor led by a colonnade of Roman soldiers. Jesus preaches peace, and Pilate preaches authoritarian oppression. Tonight, the two ideologies clash. But how did that come about? Did Jesus keep himself and his disciples hidden till today when the church re-engages the church building? If you read scriptures carefully, you will find that a lot has taken place between Sunday and today.
Monday, Jesus visited the Temple and was angered by the desiccation of the vendors. He tosses the money-changers out of that sacred space. (Matthew 21:12-46) Tuesday, Jesus confronted the hypocrisy of the Jewish religious leaders. (Matthew 23-25) Wednesday, Judas meets with the religious leaders to create the plan to betray Jesus and set the motion in place for the trial and crucifixion.(Matthew 26:14-15) We know the rest of the story. Thursday is the Last Supper, foot-washing, and Judas betrays Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, followed by Peter's denial of Jesus. (Matthew 26:17-75) Friday is Jesus' trial with the Chief Priests chanting, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" Jesus takes on the burden of our sins and dies on the cross. Saturday, Jesus is taken down off the cross and is buried. Again, this sets in motion what is to come....the Easter Resurrection. I pray that as we gather to celebrate the beginning of the Paschal Tridium (3-day service) this evening, which ends at the Easter Vigil with the lighting of the New Light, that we can all be present with one another as we recite these words by Luke Ditewig of the Society of St. John the Evangelist.
"Look at Love on the cross. Everything hangs here. Everyone is held. On the cross, Jesus hears all, Jesus listens to people lost and lonely, grappling and grieving, troubled and terrorized, wounded and dying. What is heavy on your heart? What secret is eating away at you or what story needs telling? Nothing is too awful, or messy, or trivial, or weighty, Nothing."
Then, Let us all bring to the foot of the cross those things that we need to lay down for the burden is too great. And as we do, may we say this prayer:
"Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his face to be spit upon: Give us grace to accept joyfully the suffering of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, forever and ever. Amen."