Riding the Holy Week Roller Coaster
Yesterday was Palm Sunday. I love watching the kids come down the aisle at church waving palm branches as we sing Hosanna. No waiting for the very stones to cry out for us! It’s such a lovely, joyous service. Easter is almost here!
But there’s a good deal that happens between singing Hosanna and Up From the Grave He Arose. Holy Week unfolds like a well-crafted novel. It opens on Palm Sunday with the hero riding into town as the people cry out and pave the way with branches. Here comes the king!
Then we have several days of Jesus in Jerusalem, teaching, healing, seeming to take his rightful place in the hearts and minds of the people. Except . . . the Sadducees and Pharisees are grumbling. Shift to a private meal between Jesus and his disciples. A special time when he demonstrates the kind of servant leadership he expects from them by washing their feet. And the time Jesus reveals that one of them will betray him while another will deny him. It’s Maundy Thursday.
And then a dramatic scene. What is this cup Jesus so fervently hopes he won’t have to drink? Why is he so determined to do it if he must? Before we know the answer guards appear, led by the betrayer Judas. Jesus has been taken. Dare we hope he will escape?
It’s Good Friday now, our hero is being tried and beaten. There’s no evidence against him and yet he’s found guilty. The sentence is death. He’s crucified–not because he did anything wrong, but because we did. All hope is lost. Except. Didn’t our hero say that he would be killed? And didn’t he hint at a return? Could there be a way out of this mess?
It’s Sunday morning. Easter. And the plot takes the most amazing turn. Jesus is alive and because he is, so are we. The anticipation peaks and gives way to relief, to joy, to abiding peace.
What a story! What an incredible, breath-taking, roller coaster ride of a love story. Please, come enjoy the ride.