Benediction Online

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Holy Week is Here

Last week I found myself lying back in the dentist’s chair, with a section of my mouth going numb, trying to explain that Christianity is not so much about certainty as about mystery. I don’t think I was very articulate! This week we get to live the mystery. Holy Week is not just a week for clergy to pack in as many services as they can – it is a week for us to re-member, in the sense of putting-back-together – the mystery that God in Jesus allowed himself to be betrayed, mocked, tortured, killed.

Jesus could have walked away at any time. He didn’t. Because of God’s compassionate love for each of us and for creation as a whole, Jesus allowed himself to suffer and to experience the feeling which is at the core of our broken humanity – separation from God. This week we have the opportunity to connect with his suffering, which is often called his passion… though of course anything that we do or feel is just a shadow of what his experience must have been.

Today we remember both his triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday AND his death on the cross, it’s as though we fast forward through the week. But then we have the opportunity to go back and take it more slowly and see what it means for us today, this week, this year.

There’s a Buddhist practice, tonglen, which is a practice of using meditative imagination to connect with compassion to the suffering of others. During Holy Week we have the opportunity to connect imaginatively with the suffering of Christ which, mysteriously, was for us, and on our behalf. Connecting with God’s suffering in Jesus will cultivate within us the deep compassion which is the heart of God.


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