>So it begins; and so it ends. Some say it is the greatest story ever told. These seven days hold excitement and dread for me – excitement because I never tire of the story, always find something new to ponder; dread because of the long hours of liturgy that culminate in exhaustion. I joke that when Christ climbs out of his tomb, I climb into one.
This is the week that I reflect on what exactly happened. Prophets came and went, were executed, in first century Palestine by the authorities. What made Jesus special?
His special relationship with God – he was the only man, I believe, that fully understood and accepted God’s message of unconditional love and how to return it. As God incarnate, he could show us how to love, and demonstrated in a supreme act of sacrifice that unconditional, unwavering love.
I’ve always had a problem with the atonement theology – that Christ died to take away our sins. If that were so, then why is sin and evil such a problem after two thousand years? This is where my belief of right action and unconditional love comes into play. Yes, Christ died to take away the sins of world, but he died also to show us a new way of living, of loving, of serving. That’s what made his ministry stand out among so many first century prophets.
He also kept his word, delivered on his teaching. He said he would rise again after death and return to the Father, that he would be with us always. He said that if we believed, we would have eternal life; if we loved one another, he would be in the midst of us. That’s what really made him special. He was, I think, the first to offer a message of hope and change. Christ offered us a new life through his sacrifice and a new way to look at the world and each other and more importantly, to love God, because as he said, he could do nothing except through God.
You see, loving God leads us on the journey of a lifetime, just as Jesus’ complete love and understanding of God’s call for him, led him on a journey that we commemorate during the next seven days.
This week is Holy Week, and I’ll return with reflections on each of the sacred days and hours of liturgy and worship.
I hope during this week you find a path you can walk.
May the peace and love of God, which passes all understanding, keep us and sustain us this Holy Week and always.
Go in peace, dear ones!