Thieves: Transforming Love
We begin Holy week as a time to remember and focus on Jesus’ final words and acts. These moments give us a close look at the courage and culmination of Jesus’ ministry. The last supper, praying in the garden of Gethsemane, the trial and crucifixion are events that reveal Jesus’ self-giving love and challenge us to live as more faithful disciples. The events of Holy week ask us if we will follow Jesus to these places that form our faith, to the Upper Room, to the Garden and ultimately to the cross itself. Each character in the Passion story has a different reaction to Jesus, so it is not hard to see ourselves in those who betray or deny Jesus, those who disagree with his methods or those who in compassion stop to help him. The people around Jesus carried such differing expectations on what the Messiah should do and act to deliver God’s people. Yet none could truly grasp how the Messiah could be a suffering servant who willingly takes on the pain of the world as a way of redeeming our lives forming our faith.
This Sunday is our Palm/Passion Sunday where we begin with the joyous welcome and shout hosanna with the crowd in Jerusalem that welcomes Jesus as king. By the end of our worship, however, we will be at the cross. We will look at the two thieves who are also crucified with Jesus and how one chooses to respond in faith, acknowledging his failure and asking for Jesus’ help. The “good thief” as he has been known, receives an unexpected gift of love and takes a step towards God. Sunday we worship a God who welcomes every one of us, even those who have a terribly flawed past.
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