Friday, April 3, 2015
What is Holy Week?
With this week being Holy Week, I've had little time to actually sit down in my stillness and ponder exactly "What is Holy Week?" Something maybe I wish I were more educated on, for some reason I don't remember the term "Holy Week" being discussed often. Perhaps my church roots aren't as concerned about that as the mere number of attendees that walk through our doors on Easter morning.
And the busyness of my schedule running around buying Easter baskets, Easter dresses and lustfully wanting every Easter candy imaginable. I think I've been dreaming about Peeps lately. I find myself in the hustle and bustle of this great Holiday and not sitting and wondering what really happened this time 2000 years ago. Why is it so important to actually stop and meditate on what my whole Religion rest on? It's important because the essence of my belief IS the resurrection of my Lord Jesus Christ enduring one of the most brutal scenes on a Friday…just like this one.
This day is almost over and I'm just now realizing it's Good Friday. I think back 2000 years ago, it probably seemed like a Good Friday to most people too because there were only a select few left that stuck with Jesus and his crazy shenanigans from the long week jam packed with revolutionary words and actions and the emotional grievances of his looming death. He was a busy fellow too but busy in things that actually matter. And the results had changed His following drastically from Jews lining up the street proclaiming "Hosanna" and waving palm branches the Sunday before to just a hand full at his crucifixion which was mostly women and very few disciples. I often wonder where the disciples scattered to in Jesus' most needy hours. Probably thinking it was all over because they, like most of the Jews, thought Jesus would rescue them out from under the hand of the Roman Empire. In a Judas Maccabeus sort of way, where he would come in sword swinging and fight back. Only Jesus' plan was totally different than the world's way and in the most reverse picturesque way with thousands of hidden meanings behind one symbol tells us how we too, can be different from the world and take up his cross.
I've been reading, listening and researching different ways in which Jesus' Holy Week started (this was mostly done all last week) and one of the most fascinating events of the week is the Temple cleansing. This happened the Monday before Good Friday. I'm pretty sure this is probably what put the nail in the coffin for Jesus. I think this is the event that really pissed people off and to think it was all out of Jesus' anger is to belittle the actual strategic event that had been symbolically a prophecy told by Jeremiah's temple cleansing. Anger might've played a part as well since this was such an emotional week for Jesus that he started crying blood. I like how one preacher I've heard described it as a "Prophetic Theatrical Stage" for what Jesus was doing for the world. Again so many hidden meanings to this one act that to describe it as an act straight from emotion is probably the wrong way to describe it.
A cleansing of the Temple could mean many things. A stop to worldly profit from religion; A way of showing us we don't have to sacrifice animals anymore; A plea for the church to not let money rule it (they were selling animals); A stop to the religious paradigm of religion and politics having power over who gets "in" and who doesn't (religious power). Or the fact that Jesus says "Destroy this temple and in 3 days I'll raise it." They laughed at that one. It took 40 something years to reconstruct the temple and it still wasn't done…..But we know now Jesus was talking about His body. Maybe he was proclaiming God is in us just as much as some temple. Sooo many layers upon layers of interpretations here just like everything Jesus does. As if he's over 2000 years ahead of us and were still trying to catch up with our thinking.
Still I am not an expert on this, I can only say what this event looks like to me. He was cleansing the temple run by the roman government money. As my husband says one of my favorite symbolic terms to quote in the bible is the "Whore of Babylon riding on the back of the Beast." lol, my interpretation meaning religion married with Empire and those are the 2 systems Jesus seems to shame this whole week. With the most revolutionary stance being the cross. As if the world had Jesus on trial. The world being ruled by political power and religious blame. The two ways man likes to rule others, something only intended for God. Caiaphas the high priest (religion) and Pountius Pilate (politics) being the representation of both systems and us thinking that these systems work, in the end, kill God.
I've also heard it wasn't Jesus but US that was on trial that day and Heaven throwing out the verdict by resurrecting our sacrifice by the system. Is this the gospel we need ears to hear about?
Jesus was the resistance to the plan, to the way things are. The ways of the world. He endangered power from the rulers and the systems that the religious have set in place to "keep things straight." Only in His proclamations he was trying to right our wrongs. To usher in a Kingdom found of Love of God completely and love of your neighbor as yourself. What do we do when we don't think this Kingdom will stand? We go back to the "old" way of thinking. The old kingdoms have it all lined up in place and all we have to do is be obedient, follow the crowd.
As crazy as this year has been I look at being a Christ follower a lot different than the previous year. I think I was a Christ Fan but not a follower. To follow is not to proclaim him most showily and be on the "right" side. No, to follow is to become aware that the world's needs and realize our systems are failing, have failed, and to follow Christ example in ushering His Kingdom on Earth. To put ALL our eggs in one basket and see where it takes us. To become Healers to the world. Not saving people for a certain afterlife but bring parts of that Kingdom here. That will set us apart from other beliefs. Being Jesus, not just talking about Him in church.
And I realize this is the gospel that compels and this is the gospel that is the fisher of Men. The more I unearth this gospel, the more I see people who devour it's content. People who aren't even religious long for the things that Jesus has for us. Only we've shielded his truth with our own desires of vanity and greed, letting our sins seep back into our thinking of how the world is ran for us by us. If we believe the last are to be first then we believe in making our needs last. We see blessing in persecution and opportunity in laying down our lives even for our enemies. Then we will see the Kingdom government in which the world will be ran and that is through love. The symbol of my Faith.
Maybe that is what Holy Week is. A remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ's Last week before his coronation of King of the World. The bravery of His stances as he reveals his real intent of how he plans to rule the World.