Tomorrow’s Palm Sunday, and there’s no going back. Holy Week has an amazing tide, starting full on with a wave of exultation, a welcome and the joyful expectation of liberation, signified by palms and a prophecy: the Messiah will come riding on a donkey.
Then the tide pulls back, in withdrawal, the crowds diminish, the disciples are confused, and frightened; they meet for a meal, and Jesus teaches them again about the new commandent, that they love each other, just as he has loved them. There is a long night of waiting, watching, and praying as the tide pulls out farther, to the farthest reaches. And then the waters regather.
The arrest, the trial, a long walk to the mound of skulls outside the city, the wind whistles through their hollow heads, the darkness at noon, nails and wood, vinegar and a sponge. The disciples have scattered, and others watch at a distance. A few beloved ones who cannot stay away move toward the foot of the cross, and Jesus gives his last instructions.
The tide starts back in, Jesus forgives his persecuters, his executioners, all humainty. He prays in wild abandon: “why have you forsaken me,” and gives up his spirit.
Slowly something begins to build, a Word so great, a love so mighty that it crashes in with the power that formed the cosmos, and breaks open the gates of death. Every barrier built by sin is shattered, broken up, and the universe is forever changed. All this happens in the silence between Good Friday and Easter, in quiet, in a whisper. Though so much power is there, no one sees the stone rolled away, no one hears angels, the heavens don’t open the way they do at Christmas. Jesus is raised in silence beyond our seeing, beyond our knowing, outside of anything that has ever happened before. And in the morning after that great victory of love over death, the Risen One walks quietly in a garden.
It’s a mighty week ahead.