We're in Luke's gospel and in Luke the writer has some different details we don't get in any other gospel. First is the fact that Jesus has to go up to Jerusalem and then as he is riding he goes down into Jerusalem. Then there is what the crowd says Blessed is the King who comes with peace. Last is the Pharisees who tell him he needs to make his followers be silent. There are a few other details too but I really was thinking about the action of up and down this week.
Take today. The gospel I am focusing on is the one we start with. Later in the church we read through Luke's account of the passion. We process from the historic church into the sanctuary waving palms and greeting Jesus joyfully then minutes later we read of his betrayal and death. It is the journey we make in Holy Week as we end our Lenten practices and come to Saturday. We sing, we wash feet, we keep watch through the night, we come to the cross.
There is no way to avoid the cross and death. Oh you can by not participating fully in the worship this week, but if you do we are found at the cross. Where there is death and loss and grief. Easter does not come until next Sunday and walking this way of grief and sorrow, shame and fear helps us to recognize our own human struggle.
There are always points of shame and fear and death, it is part of the Christian walk. When we choose to opt out of Holy Week we miss the opportunity to learn spiritually about those times in our own lives. We are a culture that likes to focus on being young, of things going perfectly and at the cross we have to admit things are not perfect. As a matter of fact we are the ones who reject the ways of peace and love that came to us in the person of Jesus and we nail it to a cross to be rid of things we don't want to hear. The Pharisees aren't the only ones who want to silence Jesus.
Especially the Jesus in Luke. The one who blessed the poor instead of blames them for being poor. The Jesus who tells people they must give their own things away in order to be a good neighbor just like a Samaritan, or the Jesus who tells us a story about a father who is foolish enough to run down a road in public and embrace his errant son and instead of punishing him gives him a party because this son is not dead but has found life.
Yes we must go down this week. Walk the way down to last meals and footwashings, so we can stand at the cross and recognize once again death does not have the final say. Through the grief, shame and loss there is healing. There is the pissibility to find new life. We must walk the way of sorrow first though. Every time we do we learn something new about recognizing where our life is and who God is in it.