+ Saith Teh Binks— I’m already sick of it all, this dark 2016. War and bad news (and, for me, personal troubles) are around us and with us in this new year of the same old. But we cannot only look into darkness, and the malice of our enemies, and the treachery of our leaders, and the hollowness of our failing societies. To stare into the abyss is not spiritually nurturing, or wholesome, or life-giving. To observe Holy Week is to join ourselves with the eternity of God come into our human neighbourhood in Jesus; to know what love, and truth, and goodness, and suffering, and redemption truly is. To ponder and feed upon goodness, for ourselves, our souls, and bodies. +
AS A SMART-ALECKY KID, I heard the name for today, but had no idea what it meant, being only slightly churched.. ‘Monday Thursday’? Tuesday Friday!
Hurr hurr! Yes, I was indeed just that clever, mocking things I was clueless about.
Hurry up already! Bring on Sick From Chocolate Eggs Day!
Today is the day of the Last Supper, and of Christ’s commandment– or mandatum (Latin, englished as Maundy)– that we love one another, even as he loves us.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
After the supper, he kneels, like a lowly and humble servant, and washes his disciple’s feet.
This is soon the next day, as the Jews accounted it– for at sundown, Good Friday begins: in the darkness and mist of Gethsemane, Jesus is tested to the breaking point, willing the cup which is his to pass from him. This is the prayer of nature, but finding he cannot pray it, he submits himself to the Father’s will for all that will come soon, and later, and upon the Cross, and apparently ending in the tomb.
This is the night of bitter betrayal– for nearby him, Peter James and John doze instead of praying with and for him, and across the valley in the Temple courts Judas schemes with the powers that be perhaps to try and force Messiah’s hand, to bring in the kingdom by sword and Roman blood and rebel cry.
In the Passover supper, Jesus offered himself in the bread and wine his body and blood as the true sacrifice. As Judas and the troop of soldiers approach, so Jesus offers himself truly, the spotless Lamb of God, for the greater good that will be accomplished for us, his beloved and wayward flock.
This is love; that he died for us, while we were yet sinners. His patient and suffering love does not give way to self-pity, surrender, unbelief, or curses– he forgives all, to save all. He suffers perfectly; he dies perfectly; he loves and forgives perfectly. Once for all.
Jesus the Lord does not set us some unattainable superhuman example, but sends the Holy Spirit, the Strengthener, the Rememberer, the Lord and giver of new life, God himself poured into us, so we may begin to love one another, as he has loved us. Baby steps at first.
The Upper Room.. Gethsemane Garden.. The Dungeon.. The Whipping Post.. The Cross.. The stone-cold borrowed Tomb: this is what we and our sin and our fickle rejection does to him: but it is engulfed and burnt away in the fire of his human and divine love, as the true and only-begotten Son, the Messiah.
Divine Time Travel
Out of time, by his grace, we really are there and then, if we follow in his footsteps by faith. That holy time and this holy time can be one, united in his eternal love, so that those old things become our new and now things, ever-present mercy and salvation for those who call upon the Name above every other name, Jesus the Lord.
Love him, as he has first loved us. Love one another, even as he loves us. Pray especially for those Christians around the world living their Maundy Thursdays and Good Fridays on many days of the year, as they suffer, and are persecuted, raped, and even killed for the name of Jesus.
And on the Third Day….
“For even to this were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps….“