Thoughts on Holy Week

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As Lent is winding down, we enter preparation for Holy Week to be followed by Resurrection Sunday.  Our lectionary has moved us through Palm Sunday and Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, cheered by the masses and feared by politicians, both inside and outside the church.  We will watch Jesus lose it in the Temple, debate the Pharisees and Sadducees in the Temple,  try to comfort his disciples as he knows what must happen and what that will cost as the crowds dwindle and one of his closest betrays him.  Before we know it Maundy Thursday will be upon us.  Jesus will be arrested, mocked, denied and deserted.  He will be beaten and ridiculed.  He will stand trial, and though there is no evidence against him, the shouts that cried. “Hosanna” will scream, “Crucify Him!”   He will be alone in the end calling out for God without a response.   The last words will come as he utters, “It is finished.” Jesus will die!  He will be dead, dead, dead!

The Reverend Jill Duffield writes in “The Presbyterian Outlook” this week about these last three words which Jesus whispered to himself.  She says that during an Episcopal service on Good Friday one year, the priest went out and brought in by herself a large wooden cross. It was heavy and bulky and the priest struggled as she moved it to the chancel; finally placing it upright and tilted, but steady.  She began her sermon and used the Greek word, tetelestai, which is translated, “It is finished.”  Rev Duffield said she remembered that it is not finished as in it is over.  Rather it means, “It is finished,” as in “it is completed, fulfilled, perfected, accomplished.”

She goes on to say, “that is the Easter proclamation that we can make even on Good Friday.  It is accomplished.  God’s work in Christ is completed and therefore resurrection is unstoppable.”

As we journey through this week, I pray we will take it all in.  How such Wondrous Love as this could be for the world; for us, for you and me.    And yet, There Is More!  The tomb is empty.  Death is not the end.  Resurrection was three days out after, “it was accomplished.”  Resurrection is here and now!

So let us take time this week to reflect and remember what Christ did that week for us.  Then on Easter Sunday may our preaching and our listening this year proclaim this GOSPEL.  May we focus on believing and living out resurrection in our lives, so that the world may see the Resurrected Lord.

Grace and Peace,

Russell

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