Wednesday In Holy Week

 

WEDNESDAY IN HOLY WEEK: JESUS IS NURTURED AT BETHANY

 

WEDNESAY IN HOLY WEEK

 

Although Jesus gave and gave, he was human.  Humans, like the Three Loves in God’s heart, need to receive as well as to give nurture. So the fourth day in Jesus’ last week was spent with dear friends in the intimacy of their home in the pilgrims village of Bethany.  Martha the practical home-maker busied herself cooking – Jesus needed food and hospitality. Mary sat at his feet in silent communion.  She also anointed  him with a precious ointment, in intimation of his coming death.

 

 

 

May we do something practical today to bless Jesus in another person?  And can we find time to be still and commune with his close presence without words?

 

 

 

In the Eastern Orthodox hymns of Holy Wednesday, Judas, who offered to betray Jesus for money, is contrasted with the woman who anointed Jesus with expensive perfume and washed his feet with her tears. According to the Gospel of John, Judas protested at this apparent extravagance, suggesting that the money spent on it should have been given to the poor. After this, Judas went to the chief priests and offered to betray Jesus for money. The Church encourages believers to avoid the example of the fallen disciple and instead to imitate Mary’s example of repentance.

 

Refrains

 

To keep your lovely face ever before me

 

To be in your presence

 

 

 

Prayer

 

Calm us, loving God.
When we feel let down, betrayed,
unclench the moment
and let us breathe deeply of your Spirit.
Soften us into forgiveness.
Deepen us into understanding of your ways.
Fill us with hope for a future with you.
Reflection

 

Jesus, more than any human being who ever lived on this earth, faced betrayal, death and worse. He felt the weight of a responsibility placed upon him by the Eternal Sender which, as the One who is eternally sent, he wholeheartedly accepted – but, at what cost! Having willingly assumed a human body and human emotions, this responsibility, so vast and wide, was breaking him: the weight of ego-driven human societies that have pulled against God and fragmented what was meant to be whole, the weight of the vanity and cruelty of human beings, the neglect of the earth, the oppression of the weak, the wilful blindness to truth, goodness and beauty.

 

Yet Jesus has to remain centred in his Father’ will, in his own primordial will. He has to be aware of the details that need to be planned for his farewell event the next day, at which he plans to make himself immemorial in the imaginations of believers through the ages. He has to summon up resources – perhaps from places beyond anywhere he had yet drawn upon in his human frame.[N S1] 

 

 

 

‘I come to do your will, O God, I come to do your will. In the Scripture it is said of me, I come to do your will. Through pain and grief and loneliness, through nothingness and loss, I come to do your will, for what we will is one.’

 

Today we think of how Jesus prepared himself for his ordeal, and how we can prepare ourselves for the tests of life. The prayer of the heart that we can best repeat all through the day is ‘Not my will but yours be done’.

 

Jesus had to fit his own desires into the greater whole. We have to do that. That is what Church is: the many acting for the common good. Practise being on your deathbed.

 

Our frames are tired and our souls are bowed,yet still we desire your will.

 

And as darkness encroaches?

 

Our strength and our friends may fall away,yet still we cry out to you.

 

Alone with none but you, my God,

 

I journey on my way.

 

What need I fear when you are near,

 

O King of night and day?

 

 

 

My destined time is fixed by you

 

And death discerns his hour;

 

Did warriors strong around me throng

 

They could not stay death’s power.

 

 

 

Could earthly omens e’er appal

 

The one who heeds your call?

 

More safe am I within your hand

 

Than if a guard stood tall.

 

 

 

The child of God can fear no ill,
his chosen dread no foe;
we leave our fate with you, and wait
your bidding when to go.

 

 

 

My life I yield to your command

 

And bow to your control;

 

In peaceful calm, for from your arm

 

No power can wrest my soul.

 

 

 

Our destined time is known to you

 

From whom our comfort springs.

 

In life, in death, in you we trust;
thou art our trust,
[N S2] Eternal King of kings.

 

Columba, adapted by Ray Simpson; Tune: St Peter

 


 [N S1]Could this be prefaced, perhaps: His thoughts ran something like this:

 [N S2]Should these words be deleted?

 

Posted at 09:21am on 8th April 2020
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