I have a suspicion about why so handful of of us go to church among Palm Sunday and Easter. It is not just that weeknight solutions are difficult in our schedules.
For centuries, Christians have observed Maundy Thursday and Fantastic Friday, but fewer and fewer of us voluntarily collect for the somber truth-telling of these tough days. Easter Sunday will arrive and with it the excellent news that God’s enjoy for Christ and for us triumphs more than death. But Thursday, Friday, and even the silence of Saturday (prior to the Easter Vigil) inform the truth about us, and we do not want to face it. The self-preservation responses of the disciples as Jesus is arrested and condemned are each convicting and repellent.
Sadness more than the suffering of Jesus, the tragedy and injustice of it all, is not definitely the challenge. Rather, I come across myself attempting to prevent taking in what his “followers” are carrying out, as the creeping feeling of familiarity touches the corners of my memory.
The betrayal of Judas is the most blatant sin, such that we hardly ever determine with him. I’m substantially extra frequently in the camp of everyone else about the Maundy Thursday table questioning if or arguing that it couldn’t possibly be me who will betray Jesus (recognizing complete properly that any one particular of us is certainly capable of it). It is that continuous, low-level denial of how low I could truly sink, when my neglect to cease injustice could turn into a death sentence itself. I do not want to consider about it. But that does not imply it is not there.
Someplace among my joyful hosannas at God’s presence amongst us and the empty tomb there is also my important possible to betray — not only to not avert death of God’s beloved, but to let it occur by underestimating the influence of my actions or inaction. I know I deny my personal energy to avert or influence climate adjust, mass incarceration, inhumane immigration policies and so numerous extra injustices. But as extended as I am not Judas initiating the betrayal, I’m excellent, correct?
I determine with the napping disciples, the ones so weary that they physically shut down and go to sleep even though Jesus is praying for his life in the Garden of Gethsemane. I do not want to examine all the occasions I have shut down from compassion fatigue. What impending violence — to the earth or humankind — have I ignored in order to be capable to sleep at evening? About whom have I told myself: Their issues are not mine, so I can not do something about it?
Then from time to time when I am jolted back to reality, I react like the disciple who cuts off the ear of one particular of the ones that came to arrest Jesus. The query he asks: “Lord, should really we strike with the sword?” is extra for the speaker’s advantage than truly searching for permission. What he is truly saying is, “Look at me, how responsive I am (now that I’m awake, overcompensating for earlier) and prepared to enter the fray on your behalf. Are not I so loyal, so responsive?”
I cringe, but I recognize that guy, and really feel the sting of Jesus’ rebuke: “No extra of this!”
I utilised to really feel a small smug at Peter’s 3 denials in the courtyard outdoors the higher priest’s residence. Was he definitely not that self-conscious — to guarantee one particular point to Jesus when they had been amongst close friends and a different amongst strangers? With no the accountability of these who knew him for certain, did he not nevertheless have a sense of duty? Or was it just self-preservation we all do, considering we can be whoever we have to have to be to get by, and switch back when the crowd shifts? This, as well, is uncomfortably familiar.
However the point the disciples do that cuts most deeply is standing at a distance as Jesus dies. “But all his acquaintances, such as the ladies who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things” (Luke 23:49). I do not want to determine with that sense of watching from a distance, not carrying out something — either for the reason that I can not or I am picking out not to. But from time to time going to church in the course of Holy Week or at other occasions feels like precisely that.
If I am reading the stories, praying, singing, discussing, but not also organizing against the powers that execute God’s beloved ones, then what am I carrying out? I do not want to see myself there. Holy Week can be convicting in the most effective probable way, enough for us to emerge from it determined to insist on the excellent news of resurrection for all God’s beloved.