Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.Readings from the Revised Common Lectionary:
- The Liturgy of the Psalms:
When Jesus and his disciples had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, `The Lord needs them.' And he will send them immediately." This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,
"Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey."
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!"
"Hosanna to the Son of David!
When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, "Who is this?" The crowds were saying, "This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee."
- The Liturgy of the Word/Passion:
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,Lectionary and Lenten Reflections:
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death--
even death on a cross.
Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
A very good Lenten reflection from last weeks lectionary readings by Andy Goodliff: God Wills Easter.
The Brazos Blog with Stanley Hauerwas:
Who killed Jesus . . . cannot be determined by any one text. That it is unclear from the gospels and especially from Matthew who killed Jesus, is not accidental.
Matthew, as we have seen from the beginning, has written his gospel in which we cannot avoid being a disciple of Jesus, one of the elites, or a member of the crowd. The answer to the question of who killed Jesus, therefore, is that we all killed Jesus.
Why did he have to die? Why did he have to die on a cross? The latter question seems easily answered. He had to die on a cross because that is the way Romans executed those they regarded as a threat to their interest. Hang them high so that all could see what happens when one challenges Rome.
But that answer is not sufficient for us to understand why he had to die on a cross. He died on a cross to reveal the heart of God. The cross is where God’s life crosses our life to create a life otherwise unimaginable.
Fred Sanders on the unity of the crucifixion and resurrection: A Word for Good Friday Plus Easter.
Ekklesia Project: The Walking Dead and Walking Saints.
Glory to God for All Good Things: An Eastern Orthodox mediation from Fr. Stephen Freeman on The Mystery of Holy Week.
Learning to live in the eternal day is the life of mystical union with Christ. It is the meaning of St. Paul’s confession that he “is crucified with Christ.” Holy Week is not an exercise in sentimentality, a memorial service for things that are past. It is the joyful celebration and mystical participation in that which alone is real, and by its presence grants reality to everything that participates in it.
St. John offers this: If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have participation in one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1Jo 1:7 NKJ)
May God grant us to to walk together in love in union with Christ as we mark our way to Golgotha, the Tomb and Paradise! Glory to God for all things!The Saturday before Holy Week in the Orthodox Church is Lazarus Saturday. Here's another reflection from Fr. Freeman on The Strange Case of Lazarus.
Tamed Cynic: Looking at Lent: Lazarus (in iconography and art).
A full slate of Resources for Holy Week from Missio Alliance.
Missio Alliance: Lent is too Long.
Theology Forum: A Prayer for Lent from Walter Brueggemann.
ABC Religion and Ethics: On Palm Sunday, Jesus Rides into the Perfect Storm by N.T. Wright.
As we approach Good Friday, we should be aware of, and we should be praying for, the third element: where is God in all of this? Woe betide us if we merely invoke God to back up our own ambitions and aspirations. Woe betide us doubly if we imagine we can find God simply in the spirit of the age. These are the two weather-systems with which we live all the time - but during Holy Week we are called to open ourselves to the third one.
If we try to follow Jesus in faith and hope and love on his journey to the cross, we will find that the hurricane of love which we tremblingly call God will sweep in from a fresh angle, fulfilling our dreams by first shattering them, bringing something new out of the dangerous combination of personal hopes and cultural pressures. We mustn’t be surprised if in this process there are moments when it feels as though we are being sucked down to the depths, five hundred miles from shore amid hundred-foot waves, weeping for the dream that has had to die, for the kingdom that isn’t coming the way we wanted. That is what it’s like when we are caught up in Jesus’s perfect storm.
But be sure, when that happens, when you say with the disciples on the road to Emmaus, “We had hoped … but now it’s all gone wrong,” that you are on the verge of hearing the fresh word – the word that comes when the storm is stilled, and in the new great calm we see a way forward we had never imagined. “Foolish ones,” said Jesus, “and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets had spoken! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and so enter into his glory?”
Who knows what might happen if each of us were to approach Holy Week and Good Friday praying humbly for the powerful fresh wind of God to blow into that combination of cultural pressure and personal aspiration, so that we each might share in the sufferings of the Messiah and come through into the new life he longs to give us.