We look back on the long days of Lent already behind us, and we find ourselves standing in the middle of Holy Week. Palms that waved in welcome a few days ago, lie brown and trodden in the dust. Triumphant shouts of hosanna are off on a breeze into the forgotten distance.
Each arrived here in their own way, carrying questions, pondering them, some of them growing heavier as if lugging them uphill. No one can bear those questions for us or find the answers on our behalf. Moving through the darkness of a Lenten journey is lonesome, even when we know others are travelers too.
My heart wrenches in realization of what comes next in holy week. As much as we will it….as often as we beg for it….as bitterly we weep over it not to be true, Jesus suffered.
With the taste of bread and wine still on my lips, will I sleep in the garden and miss the fear in Jesus’ voice?
I will observe accusation with a kiss, a crowd demanding blood, betrayal, risk, will I stay or run?
Dare I stand at the foot of that cross and hold vigil hearing His last desperate breaths to grant forgiveness…on my behalf?
I know not what I do.
Afraid, alone, no one can walk my journey for me.
There is such temptation to jump past all of that toward the empty tomb.
The small, still voice inside reproaches me, ‘Resist that’, it says. The astonished joy at an empty tomb would be diminished without the days leading to it.
Jesus and his disciples joined with friends after the crowds and after the events of their day, discussing plans for the next, and they shared the Passover celebration. They prayed with gratitude for the bread and wine. The meal was simple, but sustaining.
Jesus knew that each person gathered there would soon begin a solitary journey, one that no one could walk for them. In grace and loving kindness, Jesus knew them well and expected that their next days would be full of confusion, dismay, heavy questions.
He offered a parting gift to them, to us.
He gave sacred symbols to them, to us,
So that whenever they gathered next at the table, whenever we approach His table,
They would remember, we can remember,
Are not alone.