Living into Holy Week


Mark 14:1-15:47

We have traveled many miles and through the millennia these past five weeks to reach our Passion Narrative from Mark today. It is a narrative that has its roots in the promises of our Jewish ancestors. It is a narrative that shatters expectations and bares the brokenness for all to see. It is a narrative that invites us to become a part of the living God that was, is, and is to come.

Are you ready?

Are you ready to embrace this narrative that we have heard this morning? Are you ready to travel with it and let it become part of you for this next week? We are quick to move beyond the suffering, because we know what is going to happen on the other side of the tomb. Perhaps, that is where we fall short. We look beyond the pain that happens in our lives and want to quickly move on. We want to brush it under the rug and forget that it ever happened. We wish to not talk about it. Now, this pain and suffering could be anything that is holding us back. Anything that is holding us back from encountering Christ.

God invites us into this story so that we can be present. Not distant. We are invited to travel with a heart that has had the law written on it to remember whose we are. In that promise, we also are known deeply by a loving and compassionate God.

We have trouble finding God in the suffering and brokenness.

In this story we encounter many people, and perhaps you can find yourself in the story. Do you feed into the mob mentality, or are you bold enough to carry the cross bar in which Jesus will be crucified, like Simon of Cyrene? Have you denied Jesus as Peter has, or do you stand by with the women that Jesus has come to know throughout his ministry? Does your sense of compassion come forward as you relate to Joseph of Arimathea and his desire to treat Jesus’ body with the utmost respect and provide him with a proper burial?

Now that we are here, are we open to revealing our hearts to God? There is a love that flows from God and Jesus’ death on the cross that we cannot fully comprehend. It is not yet fully revealed to us. This is a love that fully brings the kingdom of God down to earth. A love that washes over all of creation with grace.

We would not be able to come to our Celebration on Easter Morning if it were not for the pain and the agony that we must travel through on the way to the cross. Deep within that suffering is the love that permeates all things.

While we have heard the Passion Narrative according to Mark this morning, there is so much more. There is so much more that God invites us to be a part of. We are invited into the Holiness of this week as we remember the washing of feet, breaking of bread, and traveling through a crowd that has been worked up into a mob and is eager for a crucifixion.

We are invited into our services this week on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Saturday Easter Vigil to be a witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We live into Holy Week by traveling this well worn road. A road that has been laid out before us. A road that leads us to hope and an empty tomb. May we listen and be transformed through Paul’s words in Philippians as we enter into this Holy Week.

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave. (Philippians 2:5-7)

By Alex Steward

I am a husband, father, and pastor within the ELCA. I did not grow up in the church and thus come at this pastoring thing with an unique perspective.

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