We want to know. Despite the disciples’ closeness to the center, they are confused. I feel them. The “where” and “what if” questions. Where do we get a donkey? (or a stage for the musicians?) Where is the procession? What if no one shows up? Or if they arrest us instead of applaud?
The streets of Jerusalem. The dry season approaches; chances of rain on Jesus’ parade are low. In Illinois, the possibility of rain is ever-changing. We are taking a very different kind of risk. We have a permit for our Streetfest. The disciples’ didn’t have that option; they had to keep moving.
But there is work to be done. Passover is fast approaching and Jesus hasn’t told us the plan yet. Where will we be? We keep waiting to hear; there are preparations to be made, but Jesus hasn’t told us where.
On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb was sacrificed, the disciples said to Jesus, “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover meal?” Mark 14:12 (CEB)
The disciples waited as long as they could, hoping Jesus would give directions, but finally they had to ask. He did have a plan, a conveniently furnished upstairs room. Supper is private, a time for serving, teaching, listening. But then they go out again, to an ordinarily quiet garden.
What is the plan for Good Friday? We examine the weather forecast hopefully. Where will it be? On White Street. Right in front of our building, the street barricaded at Randolph and on our east side. On common community ground. With musicians, activists, and artists of all ages, from all directions, and various communities of faith.
So many questions. Why this way now? (our story here) Jesus says he is going away, where the disciples can’t come. “Lord, where…? Lord, why…?” Peter asks.
What is the plan? We want to know. Where is the blood drive? In the fellowship hall. Why on Good Friday? Because blood is life. Jesus’ life. Our lives. Victims’ lives. But why are we having our Good Friday service out in public, on the street?
Crucifixion was public. The notice of crime was written in three languages so all could read it. Near the city. The soldiers had to stay until the condemned were dead, sometimes hastening the process to end it.
Violence is often public. Especially when it is about power. Killing makes a statement. But there are other declarations to be made. Declining to fight back. Identifying with victims who cannot defend themselves. Suffering. Solidarity. These also speak.
Some disciples were armed, but when they drew their weapon to protect the Son of God, Jesus said to put it away. Hands are for healing, not for violence. If you live by weapons- the sword in their case- you will die by weapons. Don’t we know it.
BloodRed Beats. Palm Sunday and Good Friday. Drumming for the procession of the king. The beat of peace. The blood that is life. Jesus’ life. The lives of victims everywhere. An opportunity to give our blood to save lives. Joining together to acknowledge suffering and pain. For our hearts to beat together. As one, standing against the violence that pervades our society.
What is the way of Jesus? How do we best honor his life? His way of peace that persisted in the face of torture. Being hands of healing. Bearing witness to violence and needless deaths. This year we will join in a common cause with neighbors across our community. In faith. In hope. That Jesus has a different plan.
When Judas was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Human One has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. John 13:31(CEB)
May our words and our works glorify the Son and the Father, and may we be led by the Spirit.