A week like no other
“Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!”
These are the words that will ring out in churches in our community on Sunday, as we remember the way Jesus began his last week on earth, riding on a donkey, with hopeful crowds shouting, excitement palpable as he made his way into Jerusalem.
This excitement turns ugly as disappointment and disillusionment emerge when Jesus doesn’t turn out to be the person that people thought he would be, as nervous and frightened religious leaders look over their shoulders, as Roman officials and soldiers do what they need to in order to maintain order and set an example of what happens to those who dare rabble-rouse.
Jesus, the disciples and other followers have come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover Festival. They prepare the traditional meal, but Jesus changes the meaning from remembering what God has done in the past in rescuing enslaved Israelites from Egypt to what God is doing in the present and will do in the future. Dusty feet are washed. Bread and wine are no longer bread and wine, but body and blood – given for you. A new commandment is given – love one another as I have loved you.
The week ends on a very different note. There are soldiers following orders. There is a rooster who crows during the night. There is an illegal kangaroo court session at night. A Roman governmental official named Pilate gets involved. An innocent man is beaten and tortured, then condemned to death, death on a Roman cross. The followers who hailed Jesus’ arrival on Sunday are by Friday either hiding out after running away or watching from a distance as Jesus draws his last breath. His body is removed from the cross and placed in a nearby tomb, its entrance sealed by a stone. He rests for three days.
I encourage you to fill in the blanks of the story this next week by attending worship at one (or more!) of the churches in our community or by watching worship services on VAST Channel 3, on LuvTV through the city’s website, or on the various Facebook pages or websites for churches, locally or further afield.
Look for information on service times elsewhere in this edition of the newspaper. This next week will be a week like no other – Thanks be to God!