My Dear Augustana,
Last month, I noted that Lent seems a bit like being pregnant. Back then, I had pregnancy on my mind. Our daughter was very pregnant—nearing a week past her due-date. Noah John arrived March 4th (he’s doing great and his parents are recovering well). His birth makes me want to push the analogy just a bit further.
Pregnancy means, among other things, anticipation, newness, and preparation. At some point, though, everything changes. Once contractions start or waters break, the time of preparation is over. Too late to rearrange the nursery or shop for onesies. It’s happening. It’s no longer expecting. It’s labor.
For Jesus, Palm Sunday is kind of like that. It’s no longer Lent. It’s Holy Week. Things come to a head as Jesus labors mightily to bring new life to this world and to us. The Gospels lead to these events, anticipate this end-stage, envisage what Jesus is about to do. They try to prepare us for it. But these days of suffering are different. Christ’s labor of love is not easy.
On Palm Sunday, April 5th, Jesus arrives in Jerusalem. And things change. No longer is the Lord preparing the world for salvation. Christ saves it. Tradition calls this week “Holy” for a reason. Events move quickly. There are complications. Jesus will share a last supper with his friends. He prays. One of those friends betrays him. A kangaroo court, complete with torture and false witnesses. Then execution and burial.
Jesus labors mightily to bring new life to us all. Christ’s Holy Work makes this Week, like no other, Holy.
With that, I pray that your sleep well. Blessings to you, Pr. BillThe Rev. Dr. William R. Russell, Pastor Augustana Lutheran Church 612.965.1668 (mobile)