Life is a grand adventure, filled with opportunities, disappointments, celebrations and the mundane. How we navigate these events says much about our faith and ourselves.
Christians all over the world are about to mark and celebrate the grandest adventure that has ever taken place, the final week of the life of Jesus Christ. A week filled with highs and lows, exultations and tragedies.
During this week, we see the character and faith of the followers of Jesus tested as during no other time in their lives.
There was the exaltation of the first Sunday of this week, which we commemorate today as Palm Sunday, when followers of Jesus entered Jerusalem with Him to cheering crowds. The people, who were gathering for the annual Feast of Passover, welcomed Jesus and His followers with palm branches, normally used to welcome royalty. They also welcomed them with shouts of "Hosanna!" and "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!"
As the week went on, Jesus would teach the religious leaders and the crowds about God's love, and His mission in the world. Some embraced His teaching, while others, particularly the religious elite, rejected it.
On Thursday, Jesus celebrated the powerful Passover feast with His friends. During that time, He said many things they did not then understand, and upon which the church has been reflecting for 2,000 years. It was a dramatic night, when Jesus was betrayed by a friend and denied by his most ardent disciple.
Although Thursday was a day filled with confusion and questions, Friday was a day of darkness and evil.
Jesus was unjustly condemned of blasphemy and sedition. He was beaten and crucified. His followers were filled with grief, sadness, disappointment - and fear that they might be next. Some stood by as they saw their Lord and Master take what they believed were His last breaths.
On Sunday, some of their women arriving at His tomb found it empty, which at first led to questions and distress, but as the day progressed and the reality of the resurrection of Jesus took hold, led them to be transformed, elated, rejuvenated.
Through this week we see the followers of Jesus display a variety of characteristics. We see: loyalty and betrayal; grief and elation; pride and humiliation. To reflect upon these historical events is a way to reflect upon ourselves as well. We can see ourselves in the lives of Jesus' followers. Reflecting on their grand adventure will help us in our grand adventure.
The Rev. Albert Gillin is senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church, 325 S. First Ave., in Walla Walla. Contact him by telephone at 509-525-1093 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Pastors in the U-B circulation area who want to write a column should contact Catherine Hicks at 509-526-8312, or by e-mail at email@example.com.