The great procession of Palm Sunday is behind us; just a memory of the day when Jesus rides into the Holy City of David, Jerusalem. It is the week of the Passover and thousands of Jews from across the countryside have come to the city to remember the days of old when Moses confronted the Pharaoh in Egypt. There Moses invoked the power of God ten times, each plague more terrifying than the one before. Finally, in the tenth, the angel of death visits the Egyptian households and Pharaoh sets the Israelites free from their bondage as slaves working to build monuments to the greatness of Egypt.
Jesus begins the week by visiting friends in a village near Jerusalem and symbolically anointed as the Messiah, for whom the Jews have been waiting centuries. Tuesday, as some traditions hold, is when Jesus visits the Temple and overturns the tables where Roman money is exchanged for Temple currency. On Wednesday, Judas Iscariot visits the leaders of the Temple and the Sanhedrin (city council) where he accepts a bribe to betray Jesus. Preparing for the upcoming Passover, Jesus meets with his disciples and other close followers in a second floor room in Jerusalem. As they share a meal (Seder) together reclining around a table, Jesus breaks bread and shares a cup with them, the first Lord’s Supper. Hours later in a garden where he is praying, he is arrested, betrayed by a kiss from Judas, and paraded before the Chief Priests and Herod, the King of the Jews. Unable to mete out their own justice, these leaders send Jesus to be tried by Pontius Pilate, fifth prefect of the Roman province of Judaea. Accused of blasphemy, Jesus is sentenced to death by crucifixion. He expires on Friday afternoon and is entombed before dark, in keeping with Sabbath law. Saturday passes in darkness for his disciples. Women going to the tomb to complete the necessary burial rites are startled to find it empty. It is Easter morning!
As a community of faith we can only really understand the miraculous nature of Easter without first experiencing the rest of Holy Week. So, we will have a family oriented potluck luck dinner on Thursday evening with a brief description of a Jewish Seder, followed by a brief service of the Lord’s Supper. Our prayer vigil will begin then (please take 30 minutes sometime during the 24 hours to join others in prayer) and will end as our Good Friday service begins. The Chancel Choir will present "Whispers of the Passion" accompanied by instrumentalists from the Louisville Orchestra. Holy Week culminates with Resurrection worship on Easter morning!
This is the foundation of the Christian faith: death into resurrection, darkness which cannot overcome the light, despair turned into hope and assurance. The Christ lives among us, yet again, now and forever! Amen.
Posted on Tue, April 11, 2017
by Doug Meister