Psalm 22; Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9; John 18:1-19:1-42
Sehet, Jesus hat die Hand (uns zu fassen ausgespannt)–“Look, Jesus stretches out His hand (to catch us),” Ernst Stöhr, Austrian, 1914, oil on canvas, Austrian Gallery Belvedere, Vienna
“Crucify him! Crucify him!” Are you ready to shout that at your laptops at 6 pm this evening? I don’t really know what I’m doing here. Of course, none of us do. I should have just finished my first service of the day (of, typically, five or six). I should be welcoming Beth McDaniel and Jeanne Goolsby and my bride to the kitchen so they can set things up for the cooking crew that will start showing up soon for meatball, grape leaf and cheesecake assembly. I should be making a quick run to WalMart for golden raisins, parsley and colorful tablecloths: I seem incapable of buying enough of those, ever. I should be setting out the flowering cross form, making a last read through of four special bulletins, getting ready to deliver some lilies to St Luke’s. I’ve settled, over two and a half decades, into a physically demanding, emotionally demanding, but professional and smooth rhythm for Holy Week. And I don’t know what I’m doing here. Which is making me a little weepy, truth be told.
They didn’t really know what they were doing, either. Simon of Cyrene, yanked from the anonymity of the crowd to carry a passing Stranger’s heavy death warrant: “I’m just here for the Passover, why me?” The women, weeping for Him, being told they’ve entirely misread the situation. Mother Mary standing there while her Son, her own body and blood, is brutalized and turned into a graphic demonstration of the cost of independent thinking. Peter, sobbing in humiliation and shame in a rented room. Pilate, washing his hands over and over as if somehow that would alleviate his conscience. The high priestly family, convincing themselves that their kangaroo court and schemes are necessary to keep the peace. Judas, walking into Lowe’s to buy some rope. They don’t what they’re doing, either. “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.”
See you, online, at 6 pm. Get ready to shout at your laptop.