Holy week entered from the East Gate, colt and all. I can see palm fronds scattered on the dusty roadside, trampled by feet and hooves a day later.
Still, evidence that Jesus passed by this way making a public demonstration that Rome is not the only power in town. Provoking our curiosity with this display on the back of a donkey – looking nothing like the mighty parade of the other empire arriving through the West Gate. But then, His trust was never in chariots or warhorses or legions of any kind.
Once again He would expose and expel Legion, enslaved by no other power on heaven or earth. His hand wouldn’t be forced by one devil or many, by one tempter or disciple. He’d use no conventional weapons but more subversive strategies to confront our preference for violence.
He undermined imperial powers daily, routinely, even in the very last week. We thought He submitted too soon – Judas couldn’t believe it, Peter was stunned. Why didn’t He fight, defend Himself, unleash angels and inaugurate His reign? This all seemed premature and preventable, if only…
But with each silence, each suffered blow, each humiliation, each exhale He unraveled us. He disarmed the powers in plain sight, but we didn’t have eyes to see. Yet. It would be days before we’d see the grand reversal, the imperial upset.
So what’s He unraveling in me this week? What subversion am I enlisted into – where’s my donkey, my basin and towel, my thorny crown? What power must I die to this week so that I may (I hope) be raised into the next week of Kingdom living?
A week of dying a slow death; Holy Week seems so inhumane. But maybe this was Jesus at His most human, His refusal to surrender His humanity to any empire. Jesus showing us that in the face of death He was most human, looking out for His mother’s care.
He should’ve been thinking of divine revenge or retaliation, His reputation or vindication. But there He hung, thinking of His mother. Jesus remained so human in the face of the most dehumanizing regime. He entrusted His mother to John’s care, and then entrusted Himself into God’s care. And in that ultimate act of trust He revealed the depth and beauty of our humanity.
When we trust Our Father to care, vindicate, redeem then we can spend our very last moments pouring ourselves out for others. God can be trusted unto death.
God was doing a new thing amid the mess and confusion of Holy Week. In Saturday darkness, newness stirred in a tomb. Our eyes couldn’t see – but God was thwarting death in that grave. And I wonder what new thing He’s stirring in me, in my neighborhood, my world. Lord, give me eyes to see Your newness that I may practice resurrection this week.