We have come to the longest, hardest, most sacred week of the Christian year.
Holy Week, the week of the Great Suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Though we know the outcome, we must trudge through this appalling time because there can be no Resurrection without the Crucifixion.
And the journey to the Crucifixion begins with Jesus’s arrival in Jerusalem in a procession proclaiming the kingdom of God.
There were two parades on that Passover spring day in 30 AD. One a parade lauding the kingdom of God; the other a parade lauding the king of the Roman Empire, Pontius Pilate. Tragically, we know how the merging of those two “kings” ended.
Our celebration today begins with Jesus’s arrival in Jerusalem lauded and celebrated riding in on a donkey through streets lined with palms… “Ride on, ride on in majesty!” we sing.
But it quickly dissolves into the excruciating story of the Passion narrative where we read and speak the words of the people, the disciples, the players in the Passion… and the reality of what’s ahead sinks in. The betrayal happens, the dismissive nature of the Pharisees pains us, and then we the people shout “Crucify him!”
Listen carefully, feel the heaviness of the words, imagine the thickness of the air.
And when it comes time for all of us to say “Crucify Him,” be aware of the profound echo of those words as they travel around the globe through time and centuries, still unnerving us here today.
This is a day when it would be very easy to throw up our hands and be done with it all. But we must keep going forward, plowing through this darkest of dark weeks, knowing that the greatest of all Light will prevail and be visible to the world at the end of this tunnel.
And so we go…