At the time that I am writing this, we have a few weeks to go until we reach Holy Week. Our Lenten journey has us pondering what Jesus may have been feeling as he made his way to Jerusalem, knowing that it would be there that he would endure the devastating blows of suffering and the harshest punishment of the day resulting in death. We wonder why. Why did God find it necessary to let this happen? Why didn’t Jesus turn and run away?
Perhaps, these are not the questions we should be asking. Perhaps, the real questions are, how could we, by our sin, turn our backs on God? Why did we push God to the ultimate limit where he felt it was necessary to offer his Beloved Son as the final sacrifice for our sin? Sure, we were not there at that particular moment in time when this all took place, but knowing that humanity would continue to sin,Jesus paid the price for all past and future sins--including yours and mine.
In our day and age, we may not understand the whole premise of why a sacrifice was necessary at all; but surely, we cannot deny the depth of love God and his Son have for us to actually follow through with this plan. Jesus tried again and again to tell us and to show us the love God has for us before he was nailed to the cross. Yet then, he was misunderstood and ignored, even hated for not being and doing what the people wanted him to accomplish as the Messiah. And now, all that we learn from him and experience of him is too quickly forgotten or casually overlooked.
The answers we seek to understand the need for this tragic event really are best understood as we follow Jesus--live as he did…loving and serving others, forgiving in spite of injustice, and yes, even enduring suffering and making difficult sacrifices for God and others. Loving God and following Jesus draws us intimately to the heart of God and changes us. It binds us to him and to each other.
On Maundy Thursday, April 1, we will be celebrating Love Feast. It is through this reenactment that we remember Jesus as our teacher and our Savior. We wash one another’s feet (or do an alternative act of service), eat together, partake of the bread and cup--symbols of Christ’s body and blood--and remember what he did for us and why he did it. We are reminded of our call to love and serve him and those whom he calls us to love. It is a sacred act we perform with one another.
COVID-19 will not prevent us from gathering for this holy remembrance this year. We will meet virtually on Facebook Live that evening at 7:00. You will need to be prepared with a way to wash your hands, a food to represent your meal and a piece of bread and cup of juice as symbols for the Eucharist. However, if we are meeting back in the sanctuary for worship by that time, we will celebrate Love Feast in the sanctuary and broadcast it virtually on Facebook Live. It will not be the traditional service because we will still be observing the pandemic restrictions.
I hope everyone will join me, Burton Young, Eileen Smith and choir members for this special time together. Also, remember that although the darkness of Good Friday happens the next day, Sunday is coming. and we will celebrate our risen Savior.