Introduction to Passion Week

When I was growing up, Easter appeared like a glorious burst of light in springtime. The small church my father pastored did all the traditional things and we children anticipated them with huge excitement: new Easter outfits, a Sunday School program, the Easter egg hunt, bags of curly candy and fruit.

We did not, however, give attention to Lent or Passion Week or gather for Good Friday service. Those events seemed to belong to the more orthodox traditions and were not part of our church culture.

As an adult, meditation on Jesus Christ’s final week before the Cross has now become a deeply moving experience for me each spring.  I’m sharing my thoughts on each day of Passion Week, which begins today, with you. I hope you will comment with your thoughts, as well. We will resume Tuesdays with Job after Easter.

Saturday. I read Mark 14:1-9 and John 12:1-8

Passover is approaching. Jesus travels with the massive crowds headed to Jerusalem. In Bethany, about 2 miles south of Jerusalem, He is welcomed into the home of his dear friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

The chief priests and their surrogates, who have stalked him all over Judea and Galilee for 3 years, are now actually plotting his death. All four Gospel accounts note the escalation in their plans.

The evening of his arrival in Bethany, Jesus is invited to the house of a man who may have been healed by Jesus: Simon, “the leper.” It is the scene of an act of great love and enormous courage.  Mary slips into this room full of men, walks up to her Lord, breaks the neck of a bottle of aromatic ointment, and pours it over His head.  There is immediate anger in the room at the waste.  Judas especially.

I love Jesus’ response: “Leave her alone.”

Mary is the only follower of Christ who, at that time, heard, clearly understood, and acted upon what He said. I have such admiration for her. I look into my own heart and examine my devotion to the Lord I profess to love:

Am I willing to turn from “important” things to tend to necessary things? Mary braved her sister’s disapproval to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen.

Do I understand what Jesus says to me? Mary understood and anointed Him for His burial. I must discern.

Will I act on what He says? Mary’s devotion to her Lord superseded all other considerations. For me, also, that devotion may require boldness, the willingness to risk, and sacrifice (not just discomfort).

These are my meditations at the beginning of this tragic, heartbreaking, triumphant, victorious week.

Saturday draws to a close. Mary disappears from scripture. Her memorial will never be forgotten.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mary on March 31, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Points made in this piece are wonderful, and inspiring to me. thank you;)xo

    Reply

  2. Posted by Erin on March 31, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    Wow, Sister Debra… I was just pondering this thought today. I am reading a book called “Not a Fan of Jesus”. The book talks about the question.. ” Are we fans or followers of Jesus? Are we just emphatic admirers? Or do we continue to “Follow” even when it is not the popular thing to do? Even if what we are being led by the Spirit to do something out of the ordinary? Or even down right uncomfortable?

    Reply

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