Lent: Holy Week 

We are coming to the end of our season of Lent, turning our attention to Holy Week; the journey of Jesus, beginning with the celebration of his grand entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, to the devastation of his death on a Cross on Good Friday. One day he was hailed a King, and a few days later executed as a common criminal. 

Jesus of Nazareth’s short life exemplified the ‘way’ we are invited to live. And his abrupt ending, and subsequent rising exemplified the ‘way’ we are invited to die.

Psychologist Carl Jung coined a phrase: 

the first half of life is devoted to forming a healthy ego, the second half is going inward and letting go of it.’  

Others in the wake of this thinking have captured the idea of ‘finding our true selves.’ This is not something that was discovered in the age of the psychological enlightenment of the 20th Century, rather from wisdom that has been passed down through the ages, from the words of Jesus himself who said (firstly of himself),

…unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The one who loves his life will lose it, while the one who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.’ 1

Jung also popularized the concept of the ‘ego’, to which Jesus continually referred  in his invitation to his listeners to ‘let go.’ He told many stories to highlight this idea; the lost son being one of our most cherished and challenging.

In this passage, and in his teaching he was not suggesting matrydom for the masses (although since the beginning of time people have died for the cause they believe in), and he was not referring to our after life experience either. Rather he was inviting us to embrace a new way of living that would include many deaths along our path in search of our true selves, where our ego, or our need for control, or to be right, or to know, is slowly put to death. His death showed us that we can die, and his resurrection that we can live. So just as Paul confronts death -where is your sting? 2 - we can be confident and not afraid of the process, both here in our lives in this place, and in the place to come.

I invite you to engage with Jesus on the road to Calvary, consider what it is that you may have to anguish over and give up at Gesthsemane, nailing it to the Cross at Calvary, and being surprised by what may spring up on Easter Sunday.

Benediction

(from the lyrics of “Now and at the Hour” by The Brilliance)

Oh Spirit of God
Speak Your peace, speak Your peace
Oh Spirit of God
Speak Your peace, speak Your peace

Now and at the hour of our death
Amen, amen
Now and at the hour of our death
Amen

Oh merciful God
Forgive us, forgive us
Oh merciful God
Forgive us, forgive us

For all the things we have done and left undone
For all the things we have done and left undone

Oh Son of God
Rescue us, rescue us
Oh Son of God
Rescue us, rescue us

Now and at the hour of our death
Amen, amen
Now and at the hour of our death
Amen

1John 12 v 24,25

2Corinthians 15 v 55