Holy Week reflections written by the Rev Liz Crumlish. Liz keeps a blog that you can read here.
Palm Sunday – Matthew 21:1-11
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
‘Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!’
So which crowd will I be in
The one that shouts Hosanna
Or the one that cries Crucify?
Or will I, like so many others
Be caught up in the fervour of the day
and just go along with the others for safety’s sake
Good rarely comes of rocking the boat
Those who go against the crowd
are often crushed
But, every once in a while,
we have to stand alone
We cannot always hide among the crowd
So what will I stand for
Shall I have the courage of my convictions
Or will I succumb yet again
to the energy and safety of the crowd.
The choice is mine.
The consequence His.
Monday – John 12:1-11
Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, ‘Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?’ (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.’
As the fragrance of the costly oil
spread its tendrils around the room
assaulting the senses
of those gathered
As they breathed in its perfume
and witnessed the unfiltered act
of sheer love
each was assaulted
by their own reaction
each drawn in to wonder
about the extravagance of love
Tuesday – John 12:20-36
Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.
The light of the world walked among us
And we did not recognise him
His soul was troubled
And we did not offer any comfort
And our ears were deaf
And even when all was revealed
Even today, with the gift of hindsight
We choose not to see
Love laid bare
We refuse to hear
God’s voice telling us
You are my beloved children of the light
Wednesday – John 13:21-32
After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, ‘Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.’
is always another
We rarely see in ourselves
the capacity for evil
that we ascribe to others
We prefer not to consider
how little it might take
for us to succumb
and sell our souls
for fleeting reward
Yet, when the night comes
and shadows fall
which of us
can stand firm in the light
Maundy Thursday – John 13:1-7
Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus answered, ‘You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.
Nothing makes sense
when cast in the light
of the unfathomable love of Christ
The Creator of the Universe
stoops to wash our feet
And we, who find such selfless giving
hard to witness or bear
are simply asked
the wonderful grace of God
What a gift!
Good Friday – John 18:1-19:42
So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.’ Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek
Black speaks of death and dereliction,
Black covered the earth as Christ died,
the agony of the cross.
Black steals every colour: the green and the red, the purple and the white, all sucked up
absorbed into black.
So, in Jesus’ death
all the colours of the Passion:
the green of field and palms,
the red of resilience and hope,
the purple of priesthood,
the white of table fellowship
all melding into
the black of death and dereliction.
With such a mix
perhaps it is inevitable
that some of the colours should leech that some should seep through.But, for now,
black is the colour of death
Holy Saturday – John 19:40-42
They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
The in between day…
When we cannot return to the way things were
Nor move forward to how they might be
But must, somehow, live in the vacuum
The vacuum of an in between day
A vacuum whose silence confronts us
with questions of complicity and culpability
and with the realisation that even our love is not enough.
Stripped of all our resources
in which we’d normally find comfort
Just like the altars waiting to be dressed again
At the end of ourselves
We teeter on the brink of God
the only one who might bear us over this chasm
of the now and not yet.
And we cannot fast forward
but are forced to wait
to dwell in this in between day
as in all the in between moments
we have experienced.
We are forced to wait
in the knowledge
that the worst has happened
and we do not know what’s next.
We are forced to wait
when even hope deserts us.
And Good Friday
cannot give way
to Easter Sunday
unless we wait
unless we dwell
in the in between day.