The events of Jesus’ passion are the most significant moments in not just the history of our faith, but all of human history. We position these events, traditionally, in a week-long celebration known as “Holy Week” or “Passion Week.” No matter how the week is named, the purpose is the same and that is to celebrate and commemorate the moments that lead up to Jesus’ arrest, death, and resurrection.
When we come to Holy Week, however, we mostly focus on just a few moments within that week, especially towards its end. We focus on Jesus procession into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. We dine with Jesus and the disciples in the Upper Room and pray with them at the Garden of Gethsemane on Maundy Thursday. We mourn at the foot of the cross on Good Friday. Those are, traditionally, the moments we focus on, yet there is vastness of experiences throughout the week that we rarely talk about.
Among those moments we rarely talk about, how can they lead us to a deeper faith? What within those moments that don’t get the attention can help us to understand how Jesus went from a heralded king on Sunday to being treated as a traitor and blasphemer by Thursday? Those two questions, and others, are what we are going to use to center ourselves throughout Lent. We will examine these events that transpire early in Holy Week and contemplate upon how they advance the narrative of the conflict between Jesus and the religious elites. As well, we will see how they enable us to experience what Jesus was doing in the world and our lives today.
Our journey with Jesus through Holy Week begins with one of the most intense moments in the Gospels. It was a moment initiated by Jesus in response to something he saw when he entered the Temple. Yes, we are talking about the time Jesus flipped the tables and cleaned house in the Temple. It is one of the places that challenges our idea that Jesus was always mild-mannered. (That is what we desire of Jesus, by the way.) What took place and why should it matter to us today? Continue reading “One Week of Upsetting the Norms”
As we move ever so closer to Good Friday we are positioned to look at, truly, the final words that Jesus said from the cross. For what now dominates our attention are the most immediate words that were on Jesus’ lips in the moment before his death. Two of those words will come from John with an emotional word, which we will look at next week, coming from Luke.
None of these truly final words seem as simplistic as the one that is before us today. Three words that, on face value, do not seem to have much significance. The normalcy of these words might keep us from seeing the depth of its meaning for us. This is a typical writing tactic that John uses in his gospel. What might seem to us like a toss away passage or a word with little to draw upon is often rich with significance that teaches us about the life of Christ and what this life means for us today.
This word from John 19:28-29 is one of those seemingly quaint little passages that provide so much more than what we may initially believe. As we hear this word read, this morning, try to sense what is going on in this moment. Jesus has been on the cross, as we said last week, for about six hours. He is nearing his death. His body is weak. He is in pain. He is exhausted. Picture what this might look and feel like as we come to these words, especially the ones from John 19:28. Continue reading “Sunday Sermon: I am Thirsty”
So much can happen in one day.
Over the course of 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, and thousands more seconds, we can conquer challenges, deal with the responsibilities of life, and experience new opportunities before us. Truly, a lot can happen in one day.
One day can change everything. The course of our lives can change based upon the decisions and actions we take in a given day. Human history can be forever altered based upon certain events that take place in one 24-hour period. One day can be a powerful time where so much can happen.
During this season of Lent, we will take a look at one particular day that did change everything. We are going to look at the final 24 hours of Jesus’ earthly life. Continue reading “A Look at The Upper Room”
Tonight, we had a reflection service to focus on the meaning of all that transpired during Holy Week. It was a great service that also including the baptism of my son. The manuscript for the homily follows after the jump. Continue reading “Holy Week Reflection Service Message: A Week for All”
Freedom is a principle we all value and hold dear. It is one of the bedrock values of our society … Continue reading Sermon: The Passover for Us Today