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  • Writer's pictureThe Rev. Beth Knowlton

From Parade to the Foot of the Cross

I wonder who was the first to notice that everything had changed. How the jubilant crowds were now bewildered bystanders. How those same bewildered bystanders became part of an angry crowd.


Who could have anticipated at the height of all the excitement, the way everything would end?


No one waving their palms at the triumphal entry into Jerusalem would have thought ahead to Golgotha. Crowds caught unaware, their joy transformed into shock, fear, and disbelief. Finding yourself in a place you never expected. The great reversal. Parade to crucifixion.


I thought of Peter, the earnest follower of Jesus. When did he first notice everything had changed for himself? That all the hopes and images he had of himself had shattered before his eyes? The debris of the promises he could not keep. That the loyalty to Jesus he swore at the farewell dinner yielded a denial of the one he loved. His frailty so present that he could not stay awake in the garden, let alone sustain the hopes he had for himself through the sound of the cock crow.


But I wonder. Did his bitter weeping of self-knowledge prepare him for the greatest of reversals? When he heard Jesus crying out words of abandonment from the psalter, did he hear them in a new way? Was his own humanity now affirmed? 


We are invited to enter holy week. We begin in the same way the crowd from thousands of years ago did; moving from a celebratory parade on Palm Sunday to utter bewilderment in the aftermath of Good Friday. Yet this gives us the opportunity to participate in a new way. 


We are invited to become more than mere spectators. We are not sure what to expect, with whom we will resonate, or where we will find unexpected sorrow or joy. Yet we are asked to enter, to walk with Jesus, go deeply into the mystery, and not take for granted the resurrection. When we permit the holiness to arrive in a new way, its power may surprise us and catch us unaware.


I wonder when we will realize everything has changed. Will it be during the foot washing on Maundy Thursday or as we keep vigil through that night? Throughout the somber tone of the liturgy of Good Friday when we pray for the world? Or when the crowd gathers early Easter morning?

We will start in the darkness, come out to the fire, and proclaim the Light of Christ. Even the power of death and destruction will be changed. Our bewilderment will be transformed to joy. 


Peace, Beth +


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