This year Holy Week has become a time of unmasking and revealing. As we get closer to the cross, we begin to get a sense of what Jesus is really about. More about God is revealed to us on the journey.
It begins on Palm Sunday when we celebrate what we want Jesus to be about. Then slowly over the week, the truth about what Jesus is really about is revealed. There isn’t a throne or palace at the end of the trip, but a cross. This reality hits us like a ton of bricks on Friday.
We want a King who comes to conquer through violence or intimidation or even popular vote. Instead Jesus conquers through vulnerability. It is the bleeding, naked, hurting Christ that turns the world right side up.
But, Holy Week isn’t just a time when God is revealed to us, but a time when we are unmasked as well. As I pointed out on Sunday, there is that young man in the Garden of Gethsemane who loses his robe while fleeing the guards. He ends up naked in the night.
I am convinced that the young man is supposed to be us. As we journey to the cross with Jesus, discovering God’s conquering vulnerability, we end up vulnerable and naked ourselves, running away in our own nights.
For this reason I find it helpful to fast during Holy Week. After all, food is such a great covering. A full stomach (but not TOO full) keeps us comfortable and empowers us to continue to hide the truth about ourselves from the world. In turn, hunger brings a nasty vulnerability. It reveals things about ourselves we would rather not know were there. Hunger unmasks anger, grief, resentment, frustration and in so doing forces us to deal with it.
So on this Holy Tuesday, as we get nearer and nearer to Friday’s cross, may we find that we are out of places to hide. May our food, our games, our movies, our internet, our avoidance all fade away as we run into the night.
I was thinking about such things this morning when God delivered an old hymn to my mind.
“Rock of ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee. Let the water and the blood, from your wounded side which flowed, be of sin the double cure, save from wrath and make me pure.”
There are all sorts of dangerous clefts out there that beg us to hide in them but the simple words of this simple song invite us to hide in true cleft that alone saves and makes us pure.
I love the second verse all the more,
“Could my tears forever flow, could my zeal no langour know, these for sin could not atone; Thou must save and Thou alone. In my hand no price I bring; Simply to your cross I cling.”
As we get ever nearer to the cross, may God keep us safe from the evil around us and hide us in the true cleft.
See you all tomorrow.