I’ve a suspicion about why so few of us go to church between Palm Sunday and Easter. It isn’t simply that weeknight providers are tough in our schedules.
For hundreds of years, Christians have noticed Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, however fewer and fewer of us voluntarily collect for the somber truth-telling of these troublesome days. Easter Sunday will arrive and with it the excellent news that God’s love for Christ and for us triumphs over dying. However Thursday, Friday, and even the silence of Saturday (earlier than the Easter Vigil) inform the reality about us, and we don’t need to face it. The self-preservation responses of the disciples as Jesus is arrested and condemned are each convicting and repellent.
Unhappiness over the struggling of Jesus, the tragedy and injustice of all of it, will not be actually the issue. As a substitute, I discover myself making an attempt to keep away from taking in what his “followers” are doing, because the creeping feeling of familiarity touches the corners of my reminiscence.
The betrayal of Judas is essentially the most blatant sin, such that we hardly ever establish with him. I’m far more typically within the camp of all people else across the Maundy Thursday desk questioning if or arguing that it couldn’t presumably be me who will betray Jesus (figuring out full effectively that anyone of us is certainly able to it). It’s that fixed, low-level denial of how low I would truly sink, when my neglect to cease injustice might flip right into a dying sentence itself. I don’t need to give it some thought. However that doesn’t imply it isn’t there.
Someplace between my joyful hosannas at God’s presence amongst us and the empty tomb there’s additionally my important potential to betray — not solely to not stop dying of God’s beloved, however to let it occur by underestimating the impression of my actions or inaction. I do know I deny my very own energy to forestall or impression local weather change, mass incarceration, inhumane immigration insurance policies and so many extra injustices. However so long as I’m not Judas initiating the betrayal, I’m good, proper?
I establish with the napping disciples, those so weary that they bodily shut down and fall asleep whereas Jesus is praying for his life within the Backyard of Gethsemane. I don’t need to look at all of the instances I’ve shut down from compassion fatigue. What impending violence — to the earth or humankind — have I ignored so as to have the ability to sleep at evening? About whom have I informed myself: Their issues should not mine, so I can’t do something about it?
Then generally when I’m jolted again to actuality, I react just like the disciple who cuts off the ear of one of many ones that got here to arrest Jesus. The query he asks: “Lord, should we strike with the sword?” is extra for the speaker’s profit than truly looking for permission. What he’s truly saying is, “Look at me, how responsive I am (now that I’m awake, overcompensating for earlier) and ready to enter the fray on your behalf. Aren’t I so loyal, so responsive?”
I cringe, however I acknowledge that man, and really feel the sting of Jesus’ rebuke: “No more of this!”
I used to really feel a bit smug at Peter’s three denials within the courtyard outdoors the excessive priest’s home. Was he actually not that self-aware — to vow one factor to Jesus once they have been amongst buddies and one other amongst strangers? With out the accountability of those that knew him for positive, did he not nonetheless have a way of duty? Or was it simply self-preservation all of us do, pondering we might be whoever we must be to get by, and swap again when the gang shifts? This, too, is uncomfortably acquainted.
But the factor the disciples do this cuts most deeply is standing at a distance as Jesus dies. “But all his acquaintances, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things” (Luke 23:49). I don’t need to establish with that sense of watching from a distance, not doing something — both as a result of I can’t or I’m selecting to not. However generally going to church throughout Holy Week or at different instances appears like precisely that.
If I’m studying the tales, praying, singing, discussing, however not additionally organizing in opposition to the powers that execute God’s beloved ones, then what am I doing? I don’t need to see myself there. Holy Week might be convicting in the very best manner, sufficient for us to emerge from it decided to insist on the excellent news of resurrection for all God’s beloved.