We stand on the threshold of the complexities of Holy Week.Our readings this week have invited us to think about the intimate relationship between despair and hopefulness, sadness and joy. The worshipers in Psalms 31 and 118 know the depth of tragedy and challenge; their unwavering trust and hope in God inspire. Isaiah knows the calling and the satisfaction of living faithfully, though he has experienced resistance and violence. And Paul in Philippians 2 speaks of a Jesus who comes to know death but who lives resolutely and steadfastly.
These texts prepare us for the gritty, complicated, textured stories that await us, stories like the Passover meal Jesus shares with his disciples. This meal is grounded in the narrative about a delivering God but a “last meal” tinged with forewarnings of death, betrayal, and denial. There joy and sadness comingle. Every event taking place around the disciples suggests God’s abandonment and absence! Have they misplaced their trust? Has Jesus really been “forsaken” as he shouts out this shocking word from the cross?
Our texts for Palm/Passion Sunday cry out a resounding NO. There is no abandonment here—only the testimony of many who can speak of God’s presence in the midst of the overwhelming realities that face us. The prophets and psalmist whisper words of assurance as we travel over the rocky terrain of the week to come.
God is here. God is compassionate. God hears our despair. God is our helper. God will have the final word.
God, we despair about local and world events. They bring us to despair. Reassure us that we do not travel alone. Amen.