“And they brought it to Jesus: and throwing their garments on the colt, they set Jesus upon it.” – Luke 19: 35
We find ourselves this week faced with the paradox of life. Reading the Palm and Passion texts reminds us that crowds who cheered for Jesus at the start of the week confront him with sneers and jeers by Friday.
Luke’s lectionary reading for Palm Sunday tells a story that indicates Jesus places his life and ministry in the hands of his friends as he faces the road into Jerusalem. It requires a subtle reading and is easily missed if one is too focused on the pomp of the parade. Luke 19:35 says, “…they set Jesus upon it [colt].” Jesus could have found a nearby wall to stand on without leaning on his disciples, also named as friends of God. Still, instead, he calls the disciples into service not only to secure the resource he needs to accomplish his mission but to put into action their faith in Jesus by actively living into the mission and ministry set before him. Some might say they, too, become co-creators with Jesus the Christ to make real the coming of the kingdom. The Luke text seems to be reminding us that yes, Jesus is the main character of the Holy Week story, but there are others who he will not go forth without into his destiny. Jesus invites his friends and followers all week long to actively participate in the events of this critical week in the life of the coming reign as a result of the resurrection story.
Holy week is filled with intimate moments of discipleship and speaks of the profoundly challenging nature of friendships. There will be bread-breaking and wine-sharing, foot washing, and truth-telling, and a week that will end in tragedy – but the beauty of this week is that the story does not end that way, for you see, there is a sequel to the saga. A saga that is founded on redeeming Hope.
As we journey during this Holy Week, I pray that we keep before us the reality of lives upended and destroyed by war, fear, overwhelming anxiety instigated by uncertainty and liminality, disruption to everyday life due to broken relationships, and divisiveness. Yet, let us also fully embody the reality that this week is one of beauty because, ultimately, it is about the story of God’s love for us, a love that led Jesus to the cross, and suffering and death on our behalf. It is a reminder of the power of his redeeming love that offers us liberation through salvation and eternal life. This week is the culmination of God’s unconditional love. This week we are being invited, once again, to journey with Jesus with courage through the up and down moments on the way to the cross of calvary, to the empty tomb of resurrection, and ultimately to victory that comes with new life and new beginnings.
Friends let us stay the course.
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