..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday

The beginning of Holy Week finds Jesus
in the family of Lazarus. He is a Man and
He knows what lays before Him. From
here on in we are able to follow,
step by step, the unfolding Passion.

He travels south toward Jerusalem
from a retired spot on the borders
of Samaria where He spent several
solitary days in prayer preparing for
all that was to come. He passes
along the wild and dangerous
Jericho Road (where the story
of the Good Samaritan happened)
and comes late on Friday to Bethany
which is about 3 or 4 miles from
Jerusalem. Here he enters the house
of His friends, one of whom He had
raised from the dead a few weeks

There Simon makes a feast for this
Divine Guest, knowing the human well,
but the Divine, not so much. Here
Lazarus sits with the mysterious
experience of the grave, and of
the resurrection, hidden in his heart.
Martha is serving because that is
what Martha does. One of the Mary's
annoints His head for a burial that
awaits Him.

You don't need a fertile imagination
to feel what happened that evening:
a happy group in the shadow of
the Cross, the tender communion,
the thankful remembrance, the pledges
of eternal fidelity too touching to
spoil with words.

The next morning He moves towards
the Temple with its sacrifices, with
the companies of pilgrims, driving
sheep to the altar, One of them
the Lamb of God--the One final,
perfect and sufficient sacrifice.

The Hour is drawing near. He will
enter as a King, a different kind
of King. The donkey is brought;
the crowd grows large. Suddenly
as they raise to the top of the crest
where the City in its historic glory
breaks forth into sight: the familiar
words of prophecy come to pass:

"Tell ye the daughters of Zion, Behold
thy King cometh."

Soon a thousand voices mingle
together: "Hosannah to the Son
of David." But the King is to become
a Sufferer. All our humanity, with
all our moods and conditions is
known to Him, interpreted by Him,
mastered by Him. All the rooms
of the human house are for Him to
inhabit. It is not all one-sided.
He knows all and is with us in all.

The Saviour sighs for us that we may
not sigh forever. Imagine a pretend
Christ who demands our faith chiefly
on the score of His interest in us
when we are happy or brave or good.
How like the world that would be!
How unlike Christ! Without His suffering
Passion He cannot command the
souls of His people. "For it became
Him, for whom are all things, in bringing
many sons to glory, to make the captain
of their salvation perfect through sufferings."

Our truest self emerges more when we
suffer than when things are going well.
When all is well your soul is not proved,
it is not prosperity that refines your soul,
but adversity. Our deepest eternal
choices are born in the dark night
of the soul.

However fortunate your present lot
in life is, do not trust yourself to
Anyone but the Man of Sorrows. His
death is not a mechanical transaction
stamped cooly at a distance for our
sins. Oh not this! His suffering
redeems our own; His life and death
determine our life and death. We
know His crucifixion only as we are
crucified with Him. We will know
resurrection only by abiding in Him.

"So let us bear about the dying of
the Lord Jesus, so that the life
also of Jesus might be manifested
in these mortal bodies

"New Helps for a Holy Lent" 1882.
Frederick Huntington, (abridged and adapted)

No comments: