A tough week ahead...
Sunday, 5th April is Palm Sunday in the Church’s calendar.
This day commemorates Jesus entering the city of Jerusalem on a donkey, welcomed by crowds of people waving palms and laying them in his path. Jesus was welcomed as a king, treated like royalty. He had become a celebrity to those who had heard of the miraculous raising of his friend Lazarus from the dead. But religious leaders were in uproar after hearing the story and the people’s reaction to it. Jesus knew his life would be under threat.
Jesus knew he faced a tough week as he entered the city. By Thursday of that Holy Week he would be arrested and by Friday he would be crucified. The people who welcomed him so majestically at he start of the week had largely abandoned him to his death by Friday.
The week ahead of us will be a difficult one. The number of those infected by the coronavirus continues to rise and the number of beloved family and friends lost is beyond comprehension.
So many people who had initially welcomed Jesus soon abandoned him in his hour of need and as soon as things got difficult. The heart-warming and life-giving stories of local people supporting one another through this current health emergency are testament to the fact we have learnt much from the story of Holy Week and other historic failures. We stand shoulder to shoulder to protect the most vulnerable and one another in great adversity. We celebrate and give thanks for key workers, not least health care professionals.
The story of Holy Week and Jesus’ unconditional love for humankind is only fully understood as we celebrate Jesus’ victory over death on Easter morning. The story of our love for our local communities and for one another will only be fully understood when we look back at what was achieved in this great crisis. The unconditional love Jesus showed to those who abandoned him is a love we can only hope to mirror. The commitment and love we show to one another in the days ahead and in the years beyond this crisis will be the true measure of what community and society actually mean to all of us.