There is a lot going on in the readings of Holy Week. Today is “Spy Wednesday” with Judas busy about his treachery and betrayal. As we move farther into the week, the story line seems to narrow from Jesus in the public square of Jerusalem to gathering with his disciples for a last supper, a Passover meal. As the story continues it narrows, it leaves accounts of individuals all moving into isolation. Peter falls into the slumber of a long night while Jesus prays. Jesus is arrested and Peter waits, far removed, in a courtyard. When asked if he is with Jesus, he withdraws through his denial, and then he is alone. The sum of all these individual stories leaves Jesus isolated alone. It is a brand of social distancing to another end, but social distancing nonetheless. Jesus is the contagion people wish to avoid. And so they separate themselves from being in contact with Him and, in the end, each other. The community of disciples is no longer together. Continue reading
Here is the midst of Holy Week, we will watch as Jesus, our Lord and Savior, God of All, experiences weakness and powerlessness, submitting to his arrest, trial, scourging and crucifixion. We have all felt some measure of powerlessness, moments of isolation and hardship. Consider the story of Hannah, mother of Samuel.
1 There was a certain man from Rama-thaim, Elkanah by name, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim. He was the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.2 He had two wives, one named Hannah, the other Peninnah; Peninnah had children, but Hannah was childless.3 This man regularly went on pilgrimage from his city to worship the LORD of hosts and to sacrifice to him at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were ministering as priests of the LORD.4 When the day came for Elkanah to offer sacrifice, he used to give a portion each to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters,5 but a double portion to Hannah because he loved her, though the LORD had made her barren.6 Her rival, to upset her, turned it into a constant reproach to her that the LORD had left her barren. (1 Samuel 1:1-6)