Messiah News

On the Brink of Everything

We are now in the middle of Holy Week. Sunday we raised Palms and sang "Hosanna!" This is the beginning of the week that was. In the party (and politically charged) atmosphere that was Passover - with everybody who was anybody in Jerusalem - Jesus rode into town as a Fan Fav who hailed him as a prophet and the promised "Son of David." This was our processional Gospel for Sunday, Matthew 21:1-11. Beneath the chaos that was people 'dancing in the streets,' the high stakes power players were watching everything, not least of all Jesus.

And, of course, Jesus' destination was not the city gate on the outskirts of Jerusalem. It was the Temple at the very heart of town. There he raised holy hell and began to argue with the chief priests and the scribes. You can read all about it in Matthew 21:12-17. So far so bad it would seem.

Day 1 of what we now call Holy Week is done. Jesus leaves. That's enough. And remember his friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus in Bethany? Bethany is a suburb of Jerusalem so that's probably where Jesus goes to spend the night. 

Jesus spends Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week going back and forth from Bethany into town. Up at the crack of dawn. Home by sunset. He and the Jewish religious leaders are going at it. They talk about paying taxes to the Roman Empire; religious questions like the truth about resurrection; the certain destruction of the Temple in a not too distant future; and the end of the age to come. The gloves are clearly off! If you want the blow by blow check out Matthew 21:18-25:46.

And as if things weren't bad enough, relationships really begin to unravel now. Jesus is aware that the end is near for him personally, and people being to position themselves around his impending death. Ya, that. - Matthew 26:1-16.

Maundy Thursday
You are invited to worship Thursday evening, April 6, at 6 PM - Hazel Dell campus only. (Yes, this service will be livestreamed.) "Maundy" for which the day is named, means "commandment." In the Gospel of John during the Last Supper Jesus says, "A new commandment I give you, that you love one another." And then he washes the disciples feet. 

Many churches do foot washing on Maundy Thursday. We will not, but we will share in Holy Communion, our Christian remembrance of the Last Supper. This is also part of Maundy Thursday.

Matthew tells the story of the Last Supper (Jesus and the disciples' Passover celebration) in Matthew 26:17-30. After supper they go for a walk in the Garden of Gethsemane and here the wheels truly start to come off the wagon.

Good Friday
We gather again for worship Friday, April 7, at both 10:30 am and 6:00 pm. (Again, just Hazel Dell. The 6:00 pm only will be livestreamed.) We read the whole of the Passion Story on Good Friday - all about Jesus' death - as we sing hymns and extinguish candles to symbolize the growing darkness of a world without Jesus. The story in Matthew is found in Matthew 26:47-27:66.  For worship, though, we read the story as we find it in the Gospel of John.

Easter is not part of Holy Week. Holy Week is everything leading up to Easter. Easter is the rest of the story and we live now in the new age of life and love Jesus has made possible! Sometimes the day to day experience of life seems no different than all the chaos of Jesus' day, but I believe! I believe our world today is somehow different than it was before Jesus gave his life and God resurrected him. Maybe the change is just in me. Maybe the change is just in seeing emptiness in the tomb that used to hold all my certainty and arrogance. I thought you were suppose to get smarter with age. The only thing I know now that I didn't know in my youth is all the things I don't know. On the Brink of Everything is what Parker Palmer calls this feeling in his most recent book. (Written at the age of 79.) That seems like an Easter kind of sentiment! 

Pr. Dave Brauer-Rieke

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