At St. Mary’s, we don’t do announcements during worship. What we do instead is at the Offertory have some conversation about ways that we offer our lives to God. We often feature a ministry that has immediate opportunities to serve.
This week’s ministry of the week is Holy Week and Easter. Yesterday as we began to talk about our immediate opportunity to serve by being part of daily worship this last week of Lent, I noticed a typo in the calendar. As the week’s events were listed, the weekly calendar said “Monday, March 25; Tuesday, March 26, Wednesday, March 27.” Certainly, as far as the world goes, this is indeed correct. But for people of faith, this is not any Monday, but Holy Monday; tomorrow isn’t any Tuesday, but Holy Tuesday; and Wednesday won’t be any Wednesday but Holy Wednesday. Each of these days are particular days of devotion, and we that love Jesus are called to especially walk with him on these holy days of Holy Week.
The Gospel appointed for today is John 12. 1–11 ( if it seems familiar, we also heard this lesson a week ago on the Fifth Sunday of Lent). This is St. John’s version of the woman who anoints Jesus’ feet with costly oil; in his version, it is Jesus’ dear friend, Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha. This takes place in their home in Bethany a week or so before Jesus’ arrest, crucifixion, and death.
When I was in Israel in September, one of the places that I went was Bethany Lazarus, remembered as the town these three friends of Jesus lived. Only a couple of miles from Jerusalem, Jesus walked frequently between Mary, Martha, and Lazarus’ home and Jerusalem. We particularly hear of these frequent walks in St. Mark’s version of Jesus’ last week before his death. Today, this is no easy walk, much less an easy drive, because it is on the Palestinian side of the walk that Israel built to protect itself from Palestinian terrorists. This wall, as all walls do, not only makes entry difficult for potential terrorists, it also prevents tourists and ordinary citizens easy access.
I wonder this Holy Monday. What walls have we set up that keep God out? What walls have we built to protect us, we think, from harm that instead prevents God’s good gifts from coming into our lives as well?
This is Monday in Holy Week. Will you walk with Jesus today?