Sunday, March 21, 2021
Dear St. Luke family,
We’re just a bit over a week away from Holy Week, the week before Easter. Churches around the world observe Holy Week with many different traditions and forms of worship. The week includes five days of special significance:
- Palm Sunday, celebrating Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem, a story told in all four Gospels;
- Maundy Thursday, remembering the night Jesus shared a Passover meal with his disciples on the night he was betrayed, and that set our pattern for the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper;
- Good Friday, the day Jesus was tried, convicted, and crucified;
- Holy Saturday, sometimes observed with an Easter Vigil;
- Easter Sunday, or Resurrection of the Lord Sunday, the day we celebrate Christ’s resurrection and victory over death.
The passage we’ll be exploring this Sunday points us toward Holy Week. Unlike the other three Gospels, in John’s Gospel, Jesus always knows the future and walks willingly into it. When two strangers tell one of his disciples they’d like to see Jesus, Jesus responds by telling them, essentially (but using John’s typically obscure and poetic language), “If you want to see me, this is what you will see: You will see that If you want to live, really live, you have to learn to give your life away; you have to learn how to die, like me.”
Learn to die? Yikes! But remember, this is the same Jesus that says, in this very Gospel, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10). Too often the Church has assumed Jesus means life after death but that was not Jesus’ concern. So, what does it mean, for us, as followers of Jesus, to die in order to live – and not just survive, but live abundantly? Will strangers who wish to see Jesus see him in us?
And what can Holy Week teach us about all this? We’ll observe Holy Week at St. Luke with Palm Sunday Zoom worship, a contemplative Maundy Thursday Zoom service of prayer and communion including music from the Taizé tradition, a Good Friday Zoom service of the Seven Last Words of Jesus, an in-person outdoor sunrise service at 6:30 a.m. on Easter morning (masks and social distance required), and festive Easter Sunday Zoom worship with communion at 10:00 a.m.
See you Sunday ~
Grace and peace,