We are just days now from Holy Week. The children will process with palms at all three services this Sunday, reminding us of that day Jesus road into Jerusalem on a donkey. We’ll sing “Hosanna” (which means literally, “save us”), just as those followers of Jesus did centuries ago. And, just as things turned more and more tense, and then tragic, we’ll remember on Sunday the events of that week which culminated in the cross.
There are questions we may or may not be able to answer. Why did Judas do it? Was he evil or greedy? Or was he disturbed that Jesus was disrupting his culture and religion? Or was he maybe trying to force Jesus’ hand to bring on the revolution against Rome, which so many believed the Messiah would do? Or was there some other reason?
Why was it necessary for Jesus to be crucified? What was the meaning of the cross? Was it necessary to appease the wrath of God, as some say? Or was it primarily a sign of God’s love for all, as others believe? Many answers have been given, some in direct opposition to each other. These are questions worth pondering, even if we never reach a clear, simple explanation. “God’s ways are not our ways,” says the Psalmist, and sometimes beyond our comprehension.
If you’ve never walked a labyrinth, I can’t urge you strongly enough to take advantage of the labyrinth in the sanctuary all next week. As we move toward the center, we might think of it as a journey toward God. Sometimes we are near, sometimes farther away. Sometimes it seems we are moving in the right direction, only then to turn and head in another. But follow the path and you will reach the center. I like to think of the center as a special place of God’s presence. I like to linger there a bit. Then, as I head out, I’m on my way back to “the real world” where I live and work each day. The labyrinth can mean that…..and more. It’s a different experience when you’re walking it with others or when you’re walking alone. Try to walk it several times during the week if you can. We’ll have some explanation and dedication at 6:30 on Monday.
Good Friday morning I’d love for you to join me and others from our downtown churches as we walk Main St., carrying the cross, stopping for key readings along the way. We’ll meet at First Presbyterian Church at 10:45 and end on our front steps. It’s a great experience for children.
The services in the sanctuary on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday will anchor us in the details of the story. We’ll be invited to the Lord’s Table on Thursday, of course, remembering Jesus’ sharing of the meal with his disciples the night before he died. On Friday we’ll hear key scripture readings, interspersed with music from our chamber choir, as the light dims on that darkest of all days.
I’ve said it many, many times, and I repeat it once again because I believe it so intensely—to know the full joy and triumph of Easter, we must take the journey all the way to Good Friday, all the way to Golgotha and the tomb. We must remember all the horror of that day. When we do, the “alleluias” of Easter are all the sweeter. Make this journey with your church family next week, will you?
See you Sunday on the Lenten journey,