Tuesday in Holy Week

by Derek Baker

abstract art

“While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.” After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them.
— John 12:36

Well, that certainly sums up the head fakes of Holy Week, doesn’t it?

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Palm Sunday began so triumphantly — albeit a little oddly for anyone new to the faith (“palms, as in…coconuts?”) — yet we went from shouting “hosanna!” to “crucify him!” within an hour.

Maundy Thursday starts more cozily: an ancient hymn, a rite that must seem even stranger to the stranger (“our actual feet?”), a holy meal. But it ends so figuratively and literally darkly, I feel confused again.

Good Friday is ironic in name alone. Its hours change from spare, to dark, to disconsolate. By contrast, grief at the foot of the cross turns to remembrance of God’s saving deeds in history, and (spoiler alert) the middle of Saturday night’s service lights up.

Just when I think I have the light, believe in the light, am ready to become a child of the light, Jesus goes and hides. Yet when no knowledge — no gnosis — can make the wounded whole, I hope still to find a balm in Gilead.

Paul says ours is a faith of paradox, that life in Christ is faith in a paradox. But, oh, that I might not linger in my darkness!