It’s hard to believe this is day 36 of this 40 day Lenten journey with God (and you!) I can’t help but be reflective as I realize this adventure is coming to a close. Even still, I’ve been doing the usual dance of write-delete-write-delete for nearly an hour as I wonder what there may be left to say. Correction: write-delete-pray-write-delete-pray!
And so I’ve been thinking about Jesus, and what he may have been thinking on this night all those years ago. What he may still think as he reflects back on the events and people who were players in the greatest drama ever to unfold. And the reflection that comes back to me is the word……passion.
In fact, this week – between Palm Sunday and Easter – is commonly referred to as Passion Week. And it’s no wonder why! Taking a brief look at the gospels, here are just a few of the things that are believed to have taken place during the week following the “Palm Sunday Parade” and before the crucifixion:
- Jesus “cleared the temple” of people who were using the sacred space as an opportunity to take advantage of the poor, reminding them that it was first and foremost a house of prayer
- Jesus taught in this temple every day, yet the conspiracy to have him not just removed, but killed was now a known threat
- His authority was questioned daily as the high priests and religious leaders dealt blow after blow in an attempt to catch Jesus saying something they could have him arrested for; setting him up with questions about baptism, marriage & taxes…
- He taught with great urgency, using powerful parables, reminding those he loved that what he required was willing, humble hearts above riches and power
- He cursed a fig tree for not bearing fruit when he had walked up to it expecting breakfast. (I know there are many theological interpretations of this act, but given the stress of this particular week, I don’t have to think very deeply to imagine that Jesus may have been having a very, very difficult time holding it together…)
Including passionate love for the men and women who were counted among his followers, and a yearning to leave behind every last drop of himself for them to cling to when he was gone. Disappointment and frustration with those who chose not to believe. Indignation at the creation attempting to subvert the creator. And…..what I can only imagine must have been….great despair…at the idea of leaving this earthly journey of 33 years, constantly praying he had done all he could possibly have done to live victoriously and to love completely. Joy would come, surely. But not yet…..not this week.
What was he thinking? What was he feeling? What was he seeing? What was he hearing? What was he singing? What was he crying? What was he praying…and praying…and praying…?
Oh, what perspective! I can so easily become discouraged with the things of life that don’t turn out as imagined. When I don’t see clearly I so quickly fall into doubt and question myself, even my ability to hear God. But this Jesus….my Jesus….gives me holy perspective tonight. This was a profoundly lonely week for him. Part of him, I’m sure was more than ready to flee the confines of earth and be welcomed into his rightful place with trumpets of celebration, but…..I really feel like his love…..his great, consuming love for people, for the earth, made the idea of leaving surprisingly difficult.
I want to know such passion! But to share in the passion I must be willing to also share in the suffering…. and even as I try to comprehend what that might mean, I know I don’t have that answer tonight. What I do choose to surrender, even now, however, is a willing heart. A heart that says, “yes” to the next step on this journey of faith.
What about you? The same love that carried Jesus through this week so long ago reaches to us still.
He loved us then. He loves us now. Passionately!