Forget About Sunday Morning… For Now.

March 20, 2024

Cloudy Day

As Lent winds down, it’s time to prepare for the rollercoaster ride that is Holy Week. Holy Week is like binge-watching the ultimate drama series. You’ve got the triumphal entry, a momentous last supper, the betrayal of a close friend, a mock trial, and an innocent man murdered before their eyes. Some times we can be so familiar with the story that the weight of the drama and all that happens in that final week gets lost on us. 

Here’s what I’d love for you to do this year: stop. Try to approach this history changing story as if hearing it for the first time. In fact, put yourself in the shoes of the disciples – physically present with Jesus, living through this dramatic final week by his side. How would you comprehend the unfolding of these last days without knowing the end of the story? I mean, that’s the thing. Imagine you don’t have Easter Sunday in your purview. All you know is this moment you’re in, all that’s happening before you in real time. 

I think for most of us, if we’ve gone through this week by his side and we’re in the garden and are witnessing his arrest and the flogging and the eventual murder of this close friend–all of it–there would be two feelings that would well to the surface: utter confusion and utter despair. Utter confusion because this is NOT how we’d imagined this new kingdom and rule he spoke of so frequently to be ushered in. In fact, it’s the opposite of everything we’d expect – despite his teachings that pointed to it all along. We would have failed to “get it” just as much as his disciples failed to “get it.” And then despair because, sure, let’s grant that this kingdom Jesus spoke about is… different, and maybe we can’t understand it at all, but regardless, looking up at the man hanging there naked, it’s clear whatever this thing looks like, the whole thing has dramatically failed. Any hope of a different tomorrow has been thoroughly trounced, eradicated, removed. Hope has died. His good intentions and inspiring words weren’t enough to stop Rome.

For us to experience the power of Sunday, we need to cling to these two emotions. My challenge for this week is to resist the allure of Easter Sunday. Yeah, I know we know what comes next so it’s going to be hard. But I think it’ll be worth it for us to really get at the significance, the weight of these final days. To just sit in this confusion and despair. To feel the emotional weight those closest to Jesus were feeling so viscerally in those last days and hours. My suspicion is that if we can find a way to stay here, in this dark and uncertain space, just for a few days, we will, like those first disciples, be taken aback by the wonder of Sunday morning’s Good News. Let’s do this, Grassroots!


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