April 7th, 2017 by Christopher Caudle
Several years ago, I proposed to Marci and she accepted. Afterwards, we announced our good news to our families. Sound familiar?This involved going to various homes we both knew well, (we grew up in them) and telling people who loved us (and anticipated that this news would eventually arrive) that we were getting married. Simple.Amazingly, this obvious next step created odd feelings in us both as we made the drive from place to place. Excitement, anticipation, and some real anxiety. We wondered if they would join us in our celebration. (They all did.) We wondered if they would wonder if we were old enough. (We might not have been.) I wondered if her father would bury me in the back yard. (He didn't.)
The feelings associated with that day had nothing to do with the roads or addresses that were involved. It was the moment that cast all these familiar places with a new glow. For us, it was a happy set of announcements to finish a beautiful morning.
Sometimes, events grant familiar places new meaning. Events stamp a space forever and may hallow or desecrate places which were beforehand common or unremarkable.
It helps me to remember moments like this, and to remember that Jesus had been to Jerusalem many times before.
He and his friends had climbed these familiar hills and this familiar road into the Holy City as they gathered for worship, feasts and obedience. They and many other pilgrims had gathered in the familiar or rented rooms to share the memory of Exodus year after year. From the days of Jesus' childhood with Mary and Joseph, a personal and communal storehouse of the familiar yet unrealized story of final redemption and release shaped within them through the gathering the sharing and the return.
Jess returns now with his friends and his mother and with many from the towns and villages where he has ministered, and Jesus determines that this year will be different.
The roads, the psalms sung on the journey, the destination, the commitment to remember and hope are all in place.
Yet Jesus will reshape this week into a new form that will never be forgotten. Into the familiar, he will pour not simply new meaning, but himself. He will announce a renewed covenant, and complete the annual sacrifice, and confront those who mistreat God's faithful people both inside and outside the nation. He will make this annual series of days into a Holy Week; made holy by His presence in spite of the great gathering of evil that presumes to destroy him. A deliberate climb that will not stop until he is seated at God's right hand.
All that is familiar to us, made memorable by creed and collect and readings year by year. We have an opportunity to let this memory be made new in us in the coming week.
Join us as we feast and celebrate with our community tomorrow morning at 11:00 am for the Early Easter Egg Hunt. Take a picture of yourself or your child sharing a moment of conversation or excitement on a sunny spring morning.
Join the palm procession as we begin Holy Week during the morning service. (It's ok if everyone steps out of their pews to take the short, brisk walk round the sanctuary. The acolytes will guide us safely back to our places.)
Come to the Stations of the Cross one evening this week at 5:00 pm to read and pray through the trial and death of Jesus this week.
Remember the model of servant ministry that our Lord gives us in the basin and towel of Maundy Thursday and hear again Christ's direction to love one another and to receive his gift of Holy Communion. We will gather at 7:00 pm.
Good Friday gives us the chance to sit humbly and gratefully with the horror of the cross that won our deliverance, and you can pray with others at Noon and at 7:00 pm. The church will be open from Noon to three for quiet prayer and reflection.
Easter Sunday begins at sunrise (7:00 am) at Central Winds Park. Bring your neighbor, lawn chairs, and prayers for the good news to open hearts and change lives.
We will celebrate Easter here at 8:00 am and 10:00 am. Bring your stored-up "ALL...together nows...."and invite a neighbor to join you as we mark and worship on the highest day in our faith and hope.
You may say, rightly, that you've marked these days before, with fond memories and familiar activities. That's good.
It was good in Jerusalem in the years before Palm Sunday.
But perhaps your neighbors have not yet traced the steps of our Lord through his holy week. Our children may not yet be familiar with the saving events that changed everything from death to life.
And as we honor the work of Jesus this Holy Week, we may boldly seek the presence of God by His Spirit, and Jesus may meet us in these familiar places and change everything for us.
Expectation begins with the possibility that things may be different. Jesus enters Jerusalem this week expectantly. Let's follow him.
See you Sunday!