Holy Week is underway, a week of contemplation, of examining our contrite hearts. Of realizing the astonishing power of the brutal, yet redemptive work of a man, whose only mission was to die, a historical figure today cursed and loved by multitudes the world over.
I’ll accept the yellow-green palm branches, attempt to fold them into some semblance of a cross, and place it in my vehicle. But are they a holy symbol or a call to action on my behalf? I’ll pray for those who I’ve unintentionally hurt and pray for a way to redeem our bond.
These same grass reeds covered the floor of the city of Jerusalem. It was around 32 or 33 A.D. that Christ, his disciples, and those astonished by his miracles arrived in the city of Jerusalem. They had come to partake in a week of feasting — the Passover celebration.
They hoped his radical beliefs would somehow be accepted by the chief priests and Pharisees, who were both angered and captivated by the enigmatic messages that he spoke in the form of parables.
As he prepared himself in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was overcome by great emotional and physical trauma.
“And being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:44).
Today, there is lots to agonize over.
The Christ-followers, for instance, who are beheaded because they choose to believe in a man who suffered the cross and miraculously rose from the dead.
We learn of how Ebola has broken families apart and of the children who suffer its aftermath.
We hear of the deliberate crashing of a plane — of the claiming of innocent adults, students, and infants — and wonder…
Look for Holy Moments.
As we walk out our individual lives this week, let’s seek the beauty in a fallen world. Surely, there is enough good to triumph over the days that are darkened because of the battle between good and evil.
Be observant. Consider it holy as a brave blade of green pushes through a cold, wet earth.
Take in the beauty of your spouse’s withered hands, because they still hold warmth.
Treasure your daughter’s embrace, because her visits from college are few and far between.
Be grateful for your local coffee crew, take the time to bless their hands.
Touch the holy tear that trickles from your wife’s blue-eyed gaze, because you both bravely battle her breast cancer.
A famous betrayal occurred during the 1st century, so brutal that Christ was deemed hardly recognizable as he was nailed to a Roman cross.
He wasn’t unique because he hung and died from a cross; he was unique because he conquered the sin of our marred humanity.
As we honor the redemptive act of the cross this week, let us be ever so quiet to find beauty in what seems ordinary; to find hope in what seems can never be restored. That’s what Easter and the Resurrection offers us all.
This story first appeared in the Connecticut Post, March 2015