Holy Week in Curious times
If you really travel through the events of Holy Week and are serious about it, you
place yourself in a perilous position. You place yourself in a real crucible of transformation
in which every aspect of your life can be called into question. The number of people who make themselves open to this internal journey are few. In fact, there is a real possibility that
the importance of this Holy Week can be missed altogether. This is particularly true if a person moves from Jesus’ triumphal entry on Palm Sunday right to the joy of Easter, skipping those key events in the middle of the week. Maundy Thursday confronts everyone with the reality of denying and betraying Jesus. Good Friday reminds us of the horror of the Crucifixion, the death of Jesus and the cost of the forgiveness of sins. If you skip Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, you will simply move from celebration to celebration. This is not the message at all. In fact, there is no chance of life transformation in this practice at all.
As you know, we live in curious times. This year, we cannot gather for worship, which includes Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. But we are fortunate to be able to gather virtually. Today Jeffrey, Rocky and I will record a worship video for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday so that all of us can gather online together later in the week. You saints have an important role in this effort. If you can,please provide communion elements for those in your home. All you will need is some bread or crackers and some grape juice or even water. For those of you who come from denominations that use wine, now is your chance! I would recommend, due to social distancing issues, that everyone have his or her own bread and cup. I will guide through the process. To get ready, read through the Maundy
John 13:1-17 The Message (MSG)
Washing His Disciples’ Feet
13 1-2 Just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come to leave this world to go to the Father. Having loved his dear companions, he continued to love them right to the end. It was suppertime. The Devil by now had Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, firmly in his grip, all set for the betrayal.
3-6 Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, “Master, you wash my feet?”
7 Jesus answered, “You don’t understand now what I’m doing, but it will be clear enough to you later.”
8 Peter persisted, “You’re not going to wash my feet—ever!”
Jesus said, “If I don’t wash you, you can’t be part of what I’m doing.”
9 “Master!” said Peter. “Not only my feet, then. Wash my hands! Wash my head!”
10-12 Jesus said, “If you’ve had a bath in the morning, you only need your feet washed now and you’re clean from head to toe. My concern, you understand, is holiness, not hygiene. So now you’re clean. But not every one of you.” (He knew who was betraying him. That’s why he said, “Not every one of you.”) After he had finished washing their feet, he took his robe, put it back on, and went back to his place at the table.
12-17 Then he said, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You address me as ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master,’ and rightly so. That is what I am. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other’s feet. I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do. I’m only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn’t give orders to the employer. If you understand what I’m telling you, act like it—and live a blessed life.
And to prepare your hearts for Good Friday, read the Story of the Crucifixion:
Matthew 27:32-54 The Message (MSG)
32-34 Along the way they came on a man from Cyrene named Simon and made him carry Jesus’ cross. Arriving at Golgotha, the place they call “Skull Hill,” they offered him a mild painkiller (a mixture of wine and myrrh), but when he tasted it he wouldn’t drink it.
35-40 After they had finished nailing him to the cross and were waiting for him to die, they whiled away the time by throwing dice for his clothes. Above his head they had posted the criminal charge against him: this is jesus, the king of the jews. Along with him, they also crucified two criminals, one to his right, the other to his left. People passing along the road jeered, shaking their heads in mock lament: “You bragged that you could tear down the Temple and then rebuild it in three days—so show us your stuff! Save yourself! If you’re really God’s Son, come down from that cross!”
41-44 The high priests, along with the religion scholars and leaders, were right there mixing it up with the rest of them, having a great time poking fun at him: “He saved others—he can’t save himself! King of Israel, is he? Then let him get down from that cross. We’ll all become believers then! He was so sure of God—well, let him rescue his ‘Son’ now—if he wants him! He did claim to be God’s Son, didn’t he?” Even the two criminals crucified next to him joined in the mockery.
45-46 From noon to three, the whole earth was dark. Around midafternoon Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
47-49 Some bystanders who heard him said, “He’s calling for Elijah.” One of them ran and got a sponge soaked in sour wine and lifted it on a stick so he could drink. The others joked, “Don’t be in such a hurry. Let’s see if Elijah comes and saves him.”
50 But Jesus, again crying out loudly, breathed his last.
51-53 At that moment, the Temple curtain was ripped in two, top to bottom. There was an earthquake, and rocks were split in pieces. What’s more, tombs were opened up, and many bodies of believers asleep in their graves were raised. (After Jesus’ resurrection, they left the tombs, entered the holy city, and appeared to many.)
54 The captain of the guard and those with him, when they saw the earthquake and everything else that was happening, were scared to death. They said, “This has to be the Son of God!”
Looking forward to gathering with you. The Maundy Thursday/Good Friday video will be available on the website on Thursday morning. We'll notify you via text and social media and/or you just keep checking in on the site. Easter Worship will be available on Sunday.
Your true friend, Kurt