This Holy Week is a contrast of emotions. We who have so much are told to be slaves and wash another’s feet. We are filled with joy at the coming of the Messiah; but filled with dread when we must proclaim our faith to others. We must confront the apostle Peter in ourselves and realize we have the potential to deny Jesus. Sadly, we all must see the Judas in us; that part of us that will betray Jesus and others because of our selfish motivations. This week is seeing in the Passover Meal, not the sacrifice of a bull on Sinai or a Lamb roasted and bread made in a hurry to flee, we are to see that the Lamb is Jesus himself who offers himself for our sake. He commands us to enter into this sacrificial mystery every time we gather and take bread that becomes His Body and share a cup that is His Blood. Such simple realities become the Divine Mystery; a Meal celebrating the freedom of a people from slavery becomes the Meal that is the memorial of what Jesus did to free us from the slavery of death; a share in the Sacrifice that frees us from the slavery that Adam and Eve trapped us in because of their disobedience in the garden of Eden.
This week we climb a hill, not to see a glorious Christ, but a suffering and Crucified Lord. In Him, we see not a criminal or outcast, but every poor person who is suffering, every abused child who cries for safety, every victim of addiction, every one enslaved in human trafficking, everyone in a prison, the person trapped in a mental illness, every suffering person in the world…..on that hill, all humanity is drawn to Him and freed….every human person is washed with the love that poured from His side as blood and water.
However, if Golgotha was the end of the story, then this week would not be a Holy Week. We go to the Upper Room, the Garden, the trial, Golgotha, and the tomb that was sealed knowing the end of the story: Early on the first day of the week, the holy women went and found that all suffering and pain ends in hope, all sin that is confessed and admitted ends in forgiveness, the death itself is destroyed and life restored.
May this Holy Week be an encounter with our crucified and risen Lord.