Holy Week Begins with Love
Katie Harmon-McLaughlin of Independence, MO, USA
As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace…” -Luke 19:41-42
“My dear brothers and sisters, we are already one. But we imagine we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be, is what we are” (Thomas Merton, The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton, New Directions Books, 1975).
There are moments when I am suddenly caught up in a deep love for everyone and everything I can see. My heart swells with, “I love you,” and it is directed everywhere. If I am alone in my car, I will say it out loud. If I am walking through the grocery store, I will silently repeat the phrase as I pass each sacred stranger. Sometimes it speaks in me as I watch on the news a displaced family, the ravages of poverty and war, or the political polarization tearing the seams of the nation I live in. I don’t summon it. It just arrives-I love you. I love you. I love you. It expands my heart and breaks it open. The voice of love that yearns to return us all to oneness keeps speaking in my soul.
I imagine that Jesus might have known the feeling well as he entered Jerusalem for his last week of life. There is hardly anything more painful than feeling such deep love and hope and to watch it senselessly wasted by greed, violence, and lack of awareness. The cost to the planet and the human family is high. Jesus weeps over the city, over every sacred stranger, yearning for God’s vision of peace to be made real. Holy Week begins with love.
As I enter this Holy Week, I consider what might cause Jesus to weep today. Who are the suffering he stands beside in radical solidarity? What oppressive systems, attitudes, and behaviors would Jesus be willing to confront with his very life? What are the things that make for peace in our world today, and how am I called to live them? How am I to enter this week as a disciple of the Jesus who so fully embodied self-emptying love?
The voice of love keeps speaking, with urgency and compassion, trying to remind us that we are all already God’s beloved. We are already one. Our welfare is bound in the welfare of each other. It is persistent in asking, do you see what is still possible? Holy Week begins with love.
Beloved Community of Christ, do not just speak and sing of Zion. Live, love, and share as Zion: those who strive to be visibly one in Christ, among whom there are no poor or oppressed. As Christ’s body, lovingly and patiently bear the weight of criticism from those who hesitate to respond to the divine vision of human worth and equality in Christ. This burden and blessing is yours for divine purposes. And, always remember, the way of suffering love that leads to the cross also leads to resurrection and everlasting life in Christ’s eternal community of oneness and peace. Trust in this promise. -Doctrine and Covenants 165:6a-c
The way of suffering love leads to resurrection.
As we journey through Holy Week, we move closer to the cross. Consider the symbol of the cross in your own discipleship and its invitation for you this week. Perhaps the cross is a symbol of dying to self, of releasing what is restricting new life in Christ. Or maybe the cross is a symbol of radical solidarity with all those who suffer. Notice if your feelings about the cross have changed as you have changed and grown in your spiritual journey. If this symbol feels disruptive or resistance arises, take those feelings gently into prayer and notice where the Spirit is drawing your attention. How are you invited this Holy Week to walk the way of suffering love that leads to resurrection?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.