Holy Week 2021
Reading John 12:1-11
The week which will end in violence and rejection begins in love and generosity with Jesus surrounded by friends and Mary bathing His feet in expensive perfume.
Judas condemns love being shown, care being shown, but perhaps here is the first twinge of guilt
over that which he is about to do. Snapping at Jesus not because of what Mary does but because of what he will do, using the poor as a provocation rather than having their best interest at heart.
Time and time again Jesus actions bring out the best and worst in people. The best as people try to follow and the worse as they allow human desire and the world’s values to get in the way of that following. The week will end with people at Jesus feet mocking and abusing him as he hangs on the cross. A lot will happen in the space of the week. For the moment why not take time to dwell with Mary at Jesus feet, feel the love surround Him, the care shown to Him, the generosity of that which is given to Him.
God of every moment,
Through your love and grace
you sustain the weary
with words of hope,
you heal our brokenness
caused by silly choices
you draw us to yourself
when are lost
Lord Jesus you stand with us
in every moment,
you choose love when confronted by aggression
peace over violence
compassion over popularity
you choose passion
when you could have
remained in glory;
and we know our words to be inadequate
but we praise you as we are able
Spirit of peace,
you refuse to forget us
like so many around do,
you offer us strength
as we journey through these days
dark though they are.
The light of Easter shines through the darkness
Beckoning us forward
So help us to fix our eyes on Lord Jesus
To respond in love,
To respond in generosity
To respond in faith for all that you have accomplished for us.
Reading Isaiah 49:1-7
This reading explores the faithfulness of God in the life of Israel. God says that his servant will not only bring the people back to God because estrangement from Him rather than the exile in Babylon was their major issues but that the servant will be the agent of salvation for all nations. In Babylon the Jewish people must have heard these words and scoffed. I wonder how often we do likewise hear God’s words of promise and scoff. The people’s vision was only concerned with where they found themselves rather than where God would lead them. Jesus would usher in salvation, the servant who was vindicated by resurrection, because of the faithfulness of God. I wonder where is the faithful God leading you this week? What vision of what He is doing in the world is He trying to get you to see and perhaps participate in?
Throughout Holy Week
Jesus moved ever closer to the cross.
His faith was in You
Shaper of the heavens,
His love was for the people
Rejected though he was.
As we journey to the cross this week
Help us to raise our vision
Towards the resurrection
Help us to open our eyes and our hearts
To your leading
Help us to place our trust in you always
Whatever circumstances we find ourselves in.
In Jesus name hear this prayer.
Reading John 13:21-32
In Matthews’ Gospel we are told that in the garden Jesus was in deep anguish
as he prayed. He watched as his disciples slept as he wrestled with what the week would bring. Again, here in John’s Gospel Jesus is troubled in spirit as the disciples eat the last supper with Him.
This week for Jesus is full of troubles, betrayal, rejection, violence, and misunderstanding. Yet he meets every situation peacefully,with faith and courage.
I wonder how often we meet every situation we face with faith. Jesus strength came through his relationship with the Father. It allowed him to face that which was unimaginable. Our relationship with God is one which enables us to do that which we cannot do alone.
Some questions to reflect today
What troubles you this day and what can you take to God?
What can he help you through?
What can he help you not go through with?
Holy God, may we breathe, gently, in the worry of this week.
May we listen, constantly, to the heartbeat of heaven tonight.
May we pause, knowingly, in the shifting of the light right now.
As empires conspire and deals are done,
we are in the midst of it all hearing a faith story,
but knowing the reality of our world,
listening to the lines of love and knowing how the darkness is building.
Holy God, Servant Messiah, we know the cross you will carry.
May we admit our complicity in the cross.
May we listen to your forgiveness and
may we pause in the generous truth that finds you here,
facing away from the light and towards the darkness because of us.
And as shadows lengthen and hope feels crushed may we know and feel hope
As those who know how this Holy week will end in resurrection.
The Passover is something that every Jew was and is taught to celebrate the Passover until this day even the youngest child. A family and yearly remembrance of the freedom brought to the Jewish people by God led by Moses . God had ensured their safety and release from oppression as the angel of death passed over the Egyptian nation. The blood of a lamb had saved the people from death and God would lead them into new ways and places. This yearly observance saw Jesus and the disciples celebrate in Jerusalem in the last week of his life where he instigates a new covenant brought through his death.
The lamb of God will usher in a new covenant. Just as the lamb’s blood saved the people Jesus at that first Easter will usher in salvation through His death on the cross. Surely that is a story worth celebrating and telling and retelling wherever we find ourselves?
O God, you sent Jesus, your Son, into the world to save us all.
He came to reveal your love for us, to offer us forgiveness and salvation.
Lord, we confess that we have often failed to answer the invitation to follow and serve, preferring to follow our own path and to serve our own desires instead.
Forgive us once more, Lord God, give us humility to kneel before you again and offer our service,to give all we have received from you back to you for the sake of the work of the kingdom.
Help us to retell His story over and over again, that all may hear the good news of that first Easter
We pray in Jesus, name.
Reading- John 18:19:42
Circumstances saw Jesus arrested and brought before the High Priest and Roman Governor Pilate before being crucified in just a matter of hours. In those hours he neither fought back nor tried to change the situation. Those who could have helped didn’t, those who should have been by his side denied Him, those who sought his removal from the life of Israel were successful or so they thought. Mob rule won out on the day. On that day the people choose darkness not light, they choose hatred not love, they choose evil rather than good, they choose to maintain the status quo not the kingdom of God. Good Friday is a corrective to our ways of living. It brings into sharp focus all that is important, the love of God for the world seen in Jesus on the cross. The cross would not be the end but the means to a new beginning. It would show that you cannot kill that which is eternal, you cannot kill love or truth and that evil will never have the final word. Today why not pause and give thanks to God for his love poured out on the cross that changed the world forever.
When it seems all is lost you offer yourself in Christ
To be beaten and mocked
To be humiliated
To be rejected
To be crucified
So that we may be forgiven
That we may be redeemed and reconciled to you.
Lord we offer our thanks and praise
Inadequate as it is.
On this day which is a hard reminder of our human ways
We pray that you would encircle us in love and light
And help us so that we would always choose
good rather than evil
love rather than hate
peace rather than conflict
on this day where we remember the darkness of human action
bring your light into our lives
that we may know you and seek you every day of our lives.