Sunday was Palm Sunday and we celebrated it as both Palm and Passion Sunday, embracing the whole of Holy Week primarily focusing on Maundy Thursday [and] Good Friday.
We begun the service with Christ entering triumphantly into the holy city and making preparations for Passover, which Passover this year begins today for our Jewish brothers and sisters.
We begun with our service with that, but we quickly moved to Maundy Thursday with Holy Communion and then moved into Good Friday: the betrayal of Judas, the arrest of Christ, the denial of Peter, the passion/the punishment/the physical endurance of Christ prior to being crucified and then Christ crucified. We ended the service with Christ’s body laying in the dark tomb.
How do you preach such a range of emotions? I primarily let the scriptural readings, the covering of our symbols, the bringing forth of the items from the crucifixion do most of the ‘proclaiming of the Word’.
But, how often do we behave as Judas?
How often do we betray God and Christ in our words and our deeds?
How often are we Peter and the other disciples, who deny God and Christ’s presence in our world? in our life through word and deed?
And how often are we like the crowds that shouted “Crucify Him!” out of our jealousy and selfishness?
How often do we yell “Crucify Him” in our words and in our deeds?
What our text didn’t cover is that as Christ’s body lie in the dark tomb, the disciples were hidden in a dark room. They were fearful that they, too, would suffer the same fate as Christ. Perhaps, they were ashamed of Judas’ betrayal, of their own denial, of their own silence, of what we would call their own sin (the being curved in on the self).
This Holy Week (and beyond) we have a choice, do we want to spend this time hidden away in a dark room hoping that our betrayals, our denials, our jealousy, our self-centeredness, our sin won’t be exposed by the light of truth? Or, do we want to spend this time with Christ in the dark tomb, dying to our betrayals, our denials, dying to jealousy and self-centeredness and sin, dying to ourselves?
I encourage each one of us to fully embrace Holy Week as we are able, Maundy Thursday services, Good Friday, Easter Vigils on Holy Saturday. I encourage each one of us to take time to sit in the darkness. Its your choice, is it the darkness of a hidden room or the darkness of Christ’s tomb? Amen.
Scriptures were Matthew 21:1-11, Matthew 26:14-75, and Matthew 27:1-66.
Originally Preached on 2017 April 09 at Gloria Dei Lutheran, Kelso WA.