Holy Week begins tomorrow. Together we'll meet in front of the church. We'll take our palms and walk into the church waving them as we cry out, "Hosanna." Together we'll hear the story of that day so long ago when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. Together we'll gather at the table and remember that last supper Jesus had with his disciples.
And then we'll go our separate ways. Maybe joining together for the Urban Way of the Cross. Maybe going on the pilgrimage to Chimayo. Maybe coming together on Easter morning at St. Martin's.
Some of us will join together at other times throughout the week--at the Chrism mass on Tuesday at 10:00 at the Cathedral; on Thursday at St. Michael's for Foot Washing and the Maundy Thursday service; on Saturday for the simple service in the morning.
Still others of us will go on with our ordinary lives. Yet all of us can join together reading scripture, reflecting on it, and praying together. David Lose, a theologian and teacher of preaching at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, not even three blocks from my family home, came up with this series of readings, reflections and prayers. I'm proposing we join together this week and follow these readings. Are you in? I'll look forward to hearing your responses to the questions and your thoughts about the readings. Let's start a chain on my blog--Revalli's Blog at Wordpress.com (http://revalli.wordpress.com/2014/04/12/walking-through-holy-week-together-monday/)
Monday: Matthew 26:1-16
Q: Where do we see hostility and betrayal in our world? Is there anything that would be worth it to you to betray a friend? What small betrayals have we been ensnared by, and how can we make amends for them?
Prayer: Lord God, prevent us from allowing our bitterness or disappointment to lead us to harm others whether in thought or deed. Amen.
Tuesday: Matthew 26:17-46
Q: What difference does the Lord's Supper make in our lives? Does the meal we share on Sunday nourish our lives in the world? If so, how? If not, how might it? When have you last seen someone who needed a tangible expression of God's love? How can you help that person realize how precious they are to God?
Prayer: Lord God, thank you for the gift of your own body and blood. Let that gift strengthen us in the knowledge that you love us more than anything. Amen.
Wednesday: Matthew 26: 47-75
Q: What strengthens us to keep faith with those we care about? What tempts us to abandon them? Where have you felt abandoned? Where do you need the support of good friends? Who needs you?
Prayer: Lord God, protect and preserve us in this world that we might keep faith with the promises and responsibilities we have undertaken, and when we feel alone remind us that you understand and are with us. Amen.
Thursday: Matthew 27:1-31
Q: Where do you see the struggle for power and the easy resort to defamation and violence in our world today? In what ways does fear poison our relationships at home and at work as well as in the larger world? What one thing would you ask God to change about your life or the world? How can you contribute to making that happen?
Prayer: Use us, Lord God, as instruments of peace in world too often broken by violence and a thirst for power. Amen.
Friday: Matthew 27:32-56
Q: How does Jesus' death tell the truth about our lives and world? How does it give us hope? Where do you see God still at work to redeem and preserve creation? Where do you long to see God?
Prayer: Lord God, on the cross you suffered the very depths of our human life, even to the point of death. When we see the cross, let us remember that you become one of us and endured all elements of life to show us your great love and to give us hope. Amen.
Saturday: Matthew 27:57-66
Q: What needs resurrecting in your life? What makes it hard to turn this over to God and trust that God will bring you, too, through death to new life?
Prayer: Lord God, remind us of your presence with us when we stumble, suffer, or are afraid in any way. Give us strength, courage, and peace, and help us to be an encouragement and sign of life to others. Amen.
And then we'll join together on Sunday, April 20, for that great getting up morning--Easter Morning--at St. Martin's Hospitality Center. Remember the celebration begins at 7:30 for those who are serving and at 8:00 for those who are coming to be part of the resurrected body of Christ.
God be with us all this week.