In The Road to Character, David Brooks notes a common pattern among people whom we know to have great character: “They had to go down to go up. . . . They had to humble themselves . . . if they had any hope of rising up transformed. . . . In the valley of humility . . . they had opened up space...
O Servant Lord, you showed us the way of humble, self-giving love by washing your disciples’ feet. Draw us close to you. Set us free from our narrow self-interest so that we may love as you loved, live as you live, and serve as you served. Amen.
The readings for Holy Week focus our attention on the sacrifice made by the Messiah. The prophecies in Isaiah speak of it. The Psalms tell of confidence in God even in the midst of betrayal and suffering like that experienced by Jesus. The author of Hebrews celebrates Jesus’ death as the final and perfect sacrifice. Paul describes crucifixion as the center of our teaching as Christians. We follow these events through the eyes of two Gospel writers, particularly John. Jesus foreshadows his death in multiple ways, but even his closest followers struggle to understand and accept its meaning. Why would the Son of God experience such alienation and suffering? It is all for us, the ultimate work of love. But then he conquers the grave! Praise be to God!
Read John 13:21-32. When have you noticed darkness planting seeds of betrayal in your heart? How did you follow Jesus’ light?
Read John 13:1-7, 31b-35. What status symbols do you hold on to that keep you from following Jesus’ example of humble service?
Read Isaiah 53:1-5. On Good Friday, God enters into human suffering. When have you felt God’s presence in your suffering?
Read John 20:1-18. How has Christ found you?
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