A week that began with praises grows more difficult.
One day, at the home of a friend, a woman anoints Jesus’ head with oil, preparing him for burial.
Like Jesus, we have been prepared by loving companions for the difficult road ahead of us.
Let us not turn our eyes away from the difficulty.
Jesus tells his disciples to prepare a place to celebrate Passover.
Like the disciples, we have been given commands from Jesus. How will we prepare for Him?
At evening, Jesus gathers with his friends to celebrate the Passover meal.
A meal rich with symbolism, a meal that begins in the darkness of slavery and rejoices in God’s light of liberation.
A meal that recognizes our own darkness, and hopes for God to bring light again.
Jesus eats this meal with his friends.
We eat this meal with Jesus. We, too, hope for God to turn our darkness into light.
Jesus knows what his future holds. His heart is heavy.
He takes the bread, thanks God for it, breaks it, and shares it - the Bread of Life.
He takes the cup, thanks God for it, and shares it - Living Water, the cup of Salvation.
After the meal, Jesus and his friends sing a song of praise to God.
They go out to the Mount of Olives, to the garden called Gethsemane.
Jesus says to his disciples, “Wait here, while I pray. I’m very sad - as if I’m dying.”
Like Jesus, we have felt grief so heavy it felt like we were dying.
Like the disciples, we have been asked to witness the heavy grief of our friends.
Like Jesus, we retreat to pray.
“Father, for you, all things are possible. Let this cup pass! Nevertheless, not my will but thine.”
An angel appears to strengthen Jesus.
Like Jesus, we have received divine help in our time of need.
Like the angel, we have been a blessing and provided strength to those around us.
Jesus returns to find his friends sleeping, overcome with grief. They have let him down.
Like the disciples, we have been overcome with grief, grief so heavy we feel we cannot move.
Like Jesus, we have been disappointed by our friends.
Like the disciples, we have disappointed our friends and our God.
Judas arrives with a crowd carrying swords and clubs.
Judas betrays his friend, and Jesus is arrested.
Like Jesus, we have been betrayed by those we called friends.
Like Judas, we have betrayed our friends and our God.
Like this crowd, we have captured Jesus and taken him to be judged.
All the disciples leave Jesus and run away.
Like Jesus, we have been abandoned.
Like the disciples, we have abandoned our friends and our God.
Jesus is led to Caiaphas, the high priest. A crowd bears false witness, telling lies, and spits in Jesus’ face.
Like Jesus, we have been victim to lying foes.
Like the crowd, we have told lies.
Like Jesus, we have been mocked and scorned.
Like the crowd, we have mocked and scorned the image of God in those around us.
Meanwhile, Peter denies Jesus three times - just as Jesus predicted.
Like Jesus, we have been denied and left alone by those whose we thought would stay with us.
Like Peter, we have denied our friends and our God.
Like Peter, we have realized our mistake and cried uncontrollably.
What will tomorrow hold?
Can it get worse than this?