Passion Week has begun.
In the Church, we move from a time of celebration, hailing the arrival of a Messiah, the one who will right the world and remove the evils that plague it. We move from Palm Sunday and shouts of joy to the moments of darkness on Good Friday.
Crucified naked on a hillside.
I cannot begin to fathom what that must have felt like. To be led through the streets in a victory parade a few short days before being led through the streets beaten, stripped, and exhausted. This Messiah was betrayed by a friend and nearly everyone he loved deserted him as he went through the kangaroo court and was ultimately disposed of in incredible cruelty.
If it is true, why would this man, who claimed to be equal to God, subject himself to brutality? And if the story is true, he was also forgotten by God.
If this didn’t happen, then this whole Christian thing is pleasant morality tales at its best and manipulative in its worst. Yet, if it’s true, then perhaps Jesus knows what it’s like to be misunderstood, lonely, betrayed, and forgotten. Maybe he can sympathize with our weaknesses and baggage. If he rose from the grave, as the initial generation of disciples claimed (to the point of their own deaths), then he might be able to do something about it.
But before we jump to the majesty of Easter, we wait in the dark week when the Son of God was marred beyond recognition.
For now, we wait in darkness.