As the Lenten season draws to an end, the holiest of all weeks begins. The church begins to bustle on Sunday with the waving of palm branches and the proclamation of the Passion story. Within a few days, we are in the upper room for Jesus' last meal, in the garden of his betrayal, in the judgment hall of his torture, on the road to a violent death, and finally to the tomb of his burial. Next week is an intense walk of faith.
Sadly, so many of us only want to wave the palm branches and skip straight to the rousing sounds of "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name" with a full congregation on Easter morning. The last week of Jesus' life is brutal, and we want to avoid the suffering. But to ignore what happens between the palms and the power is to reject the full story of God's love.
Jesus knew that he had one week to live. And what did he do with that time? According to Matthew, Mark, and Luke, he basically did three things: he taught, he reprimanded, and he wept. He said everything that he needed to say, and some of the truths that he spoke were so painful as to bring him to the wails of lament. In the last week of his earthly life, Jesus was concerned about our future.--the future of his city, the future of his disciples, and the future of the religious leadership.
The Florida Boys, a southern gospel group, have sung, "When He Was On the Cross, I Was On His Mind." While true, this statement doesn't tell the whole story. We were on Jesus' mind long before he hung on the cross.
The least we can do is to have him on our mind for longer than two Sundays of the year.
in Lenten grace, and the hope of Holy Week,