Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
John 13:1 (NRSV)
At some point in each of our development, we learn it’s impolite to ask “why?” all the time. Children before the age of five ask approximately 300 questions a day. Yet shortly after entering school, that number decreases steadily year after year until in adulthood it takes courage to ask “why?” about much of anything.
We also understand that knowing the “why?” behind any action increases our investment, motivation, and concern in its being done well. In church we do a whole lot of things every Sunday. Each one of those actions means something, but sometimes we don’t know what that something is yet also don’t think we should ask. We only find understanding and, even better, more and more interesting questions through asking the questions we already have.
Holy Week, the period from Palm Sunday through Easter Morning, is an invitation to reflect once more each year on the story at the heart of our following Jesus. We are doing some things for the first time this year, and each has the potential to meaningfully usher you into deeper faithfulness and joy.
Tonight we will celebrate a Maundy Thursday service with Holy Communion. We do this in remembrance of the last meal Jesus ate with the disciples who had followed him through the previous years of ministry. In John’s gospel they feast first. We will have soup and good bread ready at 6:00PM tonight to eat and enjoy in commemoration of this moment. This sacred meal and the Sacrament which follows will be our focus tonight; in other Maundy Thursday services, foot washing and hand washing play a part as we embody Jesus’s servant leadership. If you are able to join later, please do… the focus of Maundy Thursday is loving and caring for one another as Jesus cares for each of us.
Good Friday is the day when our Lord was crucified and died. Two means of remembrance which help us to acknowledge the cross of Christ as the transformative venue of the redemption of the world are the service of Seven Last Words and Tenebrae, or “darkness.” We are invited to participate in the Seven Last Words service at Cherryville Baptist Church from 12:00-3:00pm tomorrow. This is a collection of seven statements Jesus made from the cross which speak to the heart of God and to our invitation to follow and believe. We are also holding a service of Tenebrae, a reading of the passion narrative and the extinguishing of the Light of the World. This is in Fellowship Hall at 7:00pm. Because this story is both individually and together ours, it is good for multiple voices to share in the readings and remembering.
These services open us up to ask new, bigger questions of God each year and also to find peace in not knowing everything but trusting in the Mystery more day by day. Know you are beloved, blessed, and welcome to participate in any and all of what is planned here. God’s faithfulness is the gift we celebrate once more.
Grace and Peace,