The Season of Lent is about journeying with Christ to the Cross. Jesus as the Messiah, always knew his outcome in life here. Some would say that from a rational standpoint it was easy to guess what the ultimate outcome would be when you challenge the High Priest and the Roman Authorities. I believe however, Jesus spent his lifetime understanding his crucifixion would be his exit point from this life. I also believe that he embraced it even while acknowledging it was not what he ultimately would desire for himself.The Divine portion of Jesus surely chose this as an outcome for his life in solidarity with the rest of us who had no choice or say in the matter.
But is that any different than life for each of us. As human beings we have knowledge that we will depart this life through the process of death. When we accept aging and death as a natural part of living and then die faithfully it is definitely easier, better, and a greater way of living than being dragged kicking and screaming to our deaths. Observing Holy Week as a time to journey with Jesus and watch as Jesus modeled for us what it means to die faithfully is helpful to learning acceptance of death.
Had I come to the GBOD earlier in the year, I would have worked on a project highlighting not only Holy Week but all of Jesus’ ministry as a Lenten Study on Death and Dying. It is something that I will assuredly work on for next year. Lent is a perfect time to follow Jesus and practice for our own deaths so we can learn to not only be faithful in living life but faithful in giving up our lives too. Jesus surrendered his life to God, giving it as a sacrifice, a legacy like no other. We are called to surrender our lives through death and to leave a lasting legacy or memory in the relationship we build up during our lifetimes here. More important to us is to leave behind others whom we have modeled into relationships with God through Jesus Christ. We do this through Faithful living and dying.
The great Peter Storey, Bishop in South Africa tells the story of his dying clergy dad. There was a parade of parishioners who came to see him on his deathbed. One by one as they were leaving his side they came by to comfort the young Peter, and more than a few mentioned his dad was actually preaching his most amazing sermon, the best of his life, by the way in which he was facing his own death. He was making all of his life a message and sermon. Enjoy Holy Week and see it as Christ’s preparation for his own death on the cross. In viewing the events of the week, do so with the knowledge Christ was preparing his followers not only for his death but for theirs as well and even us.