Holy Week approaches, the most solemn week of the year. I always feel unprepared.
It's as if I'm being swept away by a power I cannot control, and I want
to cry out, "No! Not yet!"
I think perhaps I am a bit afraid. Afraid because I know what this power is. It is the power of love, and I fear its sweet, imperious demands. It is Jesus, Love Incarnate. And wherever He goes, I must follow.
I am willing to go up to Jerusalem with Him, glad to receive the high praises of the crowd. But as I enter the Upper Room, my heart begins to shrink back. Jesus startles me by saying that He must wash my feet. I protest, trying to hide them. His loving gaze disarms my heart, and I realize that He alone can make me clean.
Jesus wants to give me His Body and His Blood, to be my food and drink! Not just for tonight, this night so different from all other nights, but for always. I come eagerly to His table, yearning for the sustenance only He can give. Am I also willing to let Him transform me into bread for the world? As I have been for you, He declares, so you must be for others.
We go to the garden. The crowds are gone now. Even family and friends grow weary and need rest. We are alone, just He and I. Jesus, I ask, where is the Father? Show me the Father! Jesus reassures me, telling me that it is not a time for seeing but for trusting, for surrendering everything in faith. And so together we watch and pray throughout this long and lonely night.
Later we go to the Praetorium, then wend our way along the Via Dolorosa, finally reaching Golgotha. It is an arduous journey. We walk slowly, by faith. Jesus is too tired and weak to speak, but His words come back to me and I hear them with greater clarity now. He is showing me what it means to lay down my life for others, to be gentle and humble of heart, to bear witness to the truth, to hold fast to the good.
It seems that the end has come. Having given all to the Father, Jesus hangs lifeless on the Cross. He is silent, but I hear the Father murmuring over and over, "You are my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." What wondrous love is this? I am no longer afraid. I know the One in whom I've placed my trust. This Jesus, He will rise from the dead. And we, too, will rise with Him to new life. O let the song of praise be sung! Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!
Alice Claire Mansfield
© April 92