Posted on March 23rd, 2013
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ JESUS,
This Sunday we enter into that week called Holy. It is unlike any other week in the Christian year. Throughout the rest of the year time is compressed. We fly from creation through the long centuries of Old Testament history to the birth of Jesus to the end of time. In Holy Week, everything slows down. We move step by step through that fateful week in Jeruslaem in _Anno Domini_ 33. We hold aloft fronds of palms and shout with the crowd “Hosanna!” as Jesus rides into Jerusalem. We sit with Him in the Upper Room as He washes the disciples’ feet. We follow Him to Gethsemane, to the sham trial before Annas, then Caiaphas, then to Pilate, and Herod, and back to Pilate. Finally we see Him bear His cross, stumbling under the weight. We see Mary and John at the foot of the cross, hear His hoarse voice declare “It is finished,” then see the spear thrust enter His side. We wait in the darkness on Saturday, and disbelieving yet joyous, hear His resurrection declared on Easter Sunday.
One week. One long, brutal, incredible week in which God dies. One week where Man lives.
We rehearse, recite, repeat all this each year until He comes again, because this is history, but more than history. It is the history that changes our story.
This week the Church invites you to enter into this story and see in it your own story. This is what faith is. More than believing these events happened, but seeing that these events give meaning to your death and hope for your own resurrection. Thus our Confessions say (Augsburg Confession XX):
“People are also warned that the term faith does not mean simply a knowledge of a history, such as the ungodly and devil have (James 2:19). Rather, it means a faith that believes, not merely the history, but also the effect of the history. In other words, it believes this article: the forgiveness of sins.”
Come this Holy Week and walk with the disciples of Jesus. Step into the story, and believe the effect of the history.
Your unworthy undershepherd,