Monday, April 18, 2011

Holy Week Begins

Monday, April 18, 2011 -- Holy Week, Year One

To read about our daily commemorations, go to our Holy Women, Holy Men blog:

Today's Readings for the Daily Office
(Book of Common Prayer, p. 956)
Psalms 51:1-18(19-20) (morning)        69:1-23 (evening)
Jeremiah 12:1-16
Philippians 3:1-14
John 12:9-19

We begin the walk with Jesus through Holy Week. 

We start with John's account of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem.  John notes that it is the festival of the Passover, the feast of liberation.  The great crowd sees Jesus entering in the symbolic way that the prophets had taught them to expect for the coming of the Messiah.  The people respond with nationalistic fervor.  They wave palm branches, symbols of national triumph and victory.  They shout "Hosanna," a cry that means "Save us!"  They give voice to hopes that the hated Roman rule and occupation will be thrown off, and Israel will once again rule its own destiny.  That is what was expected of the Messiah.  The Messiah would come and save Israel, liberate its people from their political bondage, and restore the nation to international power.

But Jesus came in peace.  He embraced nonviolence.  He was motivated only by love and compassion.  He called for faithfulness and justice.  The freedom he offered was immediate access to God.  He came to start a revolution, but it was a revolution of love and compassion. 

That was not the kind of revolution the people wanted.  They wanted a political Messiah.

And the religious authorities did not want a Messiah who offered immediate access to God, for they wanted to continue to exercise their own religious monopoly over access to God.

And the political authorities didn't want a Messiah of any kind.  Caesar was Lord -- Son of God and King of kings.  There will be no authority but Caesar.

Jesus must have known.  He must have known this quest was hopeless.  He must have known he was signing his death warrant.  Yet he did it anyway. 

He must have known.  He must have known that this was God's call for him.  So he walked the way that he was called, even though he could not see any way that it would work out well.  Even though he knew he was not the kind of Messiah that the people wanted.  Even though he knew the religious and political authorities were already looking for ways to destroy him.  He entered Jerusalem as the prophets had foretold, with nothing but his commitment to his sense of God's call, God's will.  If it was to succeed, it would be up to God.


Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Click the following link:
Morning Reflection Podcasts

About Morning Reflections
"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at -- Click for online Daily Office
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site at this location -- --  Click for Divine Hours

Discussion Blog:  To comment on today's reflection or readings, go to, or click here for Lowell's blog find today's reading, click "comment" at the bottom of the reading, and post your thoughts.

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at

Our Rule of Life: 
We aspire to...
    worship weekly
    pray daily
    learn constantly
    serve joyfully 
    live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas


At 10:10 PM, Anonymous janet said...

Lent thirty-five

Blessed young donkey
Carrying gentle Jesus
As palms fan your way



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