I led prayers in my local church this morning and as I reflected on today, which marks the beginning to Holy Week, I remembered with clarity my pilgrimage to Jerusalem during Holy Week when we were able to follow in the footsteps of Jesus through to Easter Sunday and then onto Galilee in resurrection celebration. At key points we read Scripture, sang, prayed, were quiet (so important) and sometimes shared communion.
On the road down from the Mount of Olives we read Luke 19: 28-44 when the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices: 'Blessed in the king who comes in the name of the Lord, peace in heaven and glory in the highest'. And a little later as Jesus approached Jerusalem and saw the city he wept over it and said, 'If you,even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace...' Peace with God and in relationships with others through the harmony of his love and forgiveness.
Standing there with the city of Jerusalem uncaring, even hostile to the momentous event ahead, I recall both the sense of grief that this city would miss the opportunity, tears for the lost, but also the sheer courage as Jesus went ahead in spite of such massive rejection. He is often so alone this week, especially in the garden and on the cross, with a city that is closed to God's gift of peace.
Unsurprisingly, this led to a focus on those for whom Easter needs courage in the face of so many around them who are unconcerned and uncaring about the peace that Jesus brings. For Christians all over the world in all kinds of situations we pray for bold witness this week.