Tuesday of Holy Week

A Seed grows with no sound but a tree falls with huge noise. Destruction has noise, but creation it quiet. This is the power of silence. Grow silently. — Unattributed

Text for Tuesday: John 12:20-36

20 Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.

Jesus Speaks about His Death27 “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people[a] to myself.” 33 He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die. 34 The crowd answered him, “We have heard from the law that the Messiah[b] remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 Jesus said to them, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.”

Meditations on a Falling Seed:

A seed neither fears light nor darkness, but uses both to grow.” ― Matshona Dhliwayo
 
Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed. — Robert H. Schuller

The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances. We carry the seeds of the one or the other about with us in our minds wherever we go. — Martha Washington
 
We know we cannot plant seeds with closed fists. To sow, we must open our hands. — Adolfo Perez Esquivel

Monday of Holy Week: After Palm Sunday and During Passover

Extravagance. Pleasure. Effusiveness. Exuberance. These aren’t ideas that we usually associate with Lent and the overture to Jesus’ passion. But Mary of Bethany understands differently. — Matt Skinner

Have you ever seen or experienced someone physically caring for a loved one in preparation for that dying person’s death? — Edward F. Markquart

***

Text: John 12:1-11 — Mary Anoints Jesus
12 Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them[a] with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii[b] and the money given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it[c] so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

Meditations for Monday and the events of Holy Week:

“Is it not true that only when we have been helped by God, that we begin to understand how to live extravagantly in honouring Christ wherever we may find him?” — Peter Woods

So what is it about Mary’s extravagance that merits Jesus’s blessing, and what is it about Judas’s criticism that earns Jesus’s rebuke?  Mary responds to the call of love in the moment.  In the now.  Knowing what Jesus is about to face; knowing that he’s in urgent need of companionship, comfort, and solace; knowing that the time is short to express all the gratitude and affection she carries in her heart, Mary acts. Given the choice between an abstracted need (the poor “out there”) and the concrete need that presents itself at her own doorstep, around her own dinner table, Mary chooses the here and now.  She loves the body and soul who is placed in her presence.  In doing so, she ends up caring for the one who is denied room at the inn — even to be born.  For the one who has no place to lay his head during his years of ministry.  For the one whose crucified body is laid in a borrowed tomb.  In other words, it is the poor Mary serves when she serves Jesus.  Just as it is always Jesus we serve when we love without reservation what God places in front of us, here and now. Lutheran minister Reagan Humber puts it this way: “What won’t always be with us is the opportunity to see God in whatever and whomever stands in front of us right now.  The kingdom of God is here.  Right now is the moment when God can break our hearts.  The love of God is the grace of now.” — Debie Thomas

“If we want to dialogue with the Scriptures, we must expose ourselves to the political, social, economic, cultural, and religious situations of the ancient world where the writings were born and where the people did not necessarily enjoy peace and justice.” — Hisako Kinukawa

“Remember finally, that the ashes that were on your forehead are created from the burnt palms of last Palm Sunday. New beginnings invariably come from old false things that are allowed to die.” — Richard Rohr

“No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown.” — William Penn

Compassionate Pedicure Scene from On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel — Ocean Vuong

A prosthesis. Halfway down her shinbone, a brownish stub protrudes, smooth and round as the end of a baguette—or what it is, an amputated leg. I glance at you, hoping for an answer. Without skipping a beat, you take out your file and start to scrub her one foot, the puckered nub beside it shaking from the work. The woman places the prosthesis at her side, her arm resting protectively around its calf, then sits back, exhaling. “Thank you,” she says again, louder, to the crown of your head. 

I sit on the carpet and wait for you to call for the hot towel from the warming case. Throughout the pedicure, the woman sways her head from side to side, eyes half-closed. She moans with relief when you massage her one calf. When you finish, turning to me for the towel, she leans over, gestures toward her right leg, the nub hovering above the water, dry this whole time. She says, “Would you mind,” and coughs into her arm. “This one also. If it’s not too much.” She pauses, stares out the window, then down at her lap. Again, you say nothing—but turn, almost imperceptibly, to her right leg, run a measured caress along the nub’s length, before cradling a handful of warm water over the tip, the thin streams crisscrossing the leathered skin. Water droplets. When you’re almost done rinsing the soap off, she asks you, gently, almost pleading, to go lower. “If it’s the same price anyway,” she says. “I can still feel it down there. It’s silly, but I can. I can.” 

You pause—a flicker across your face. Then, the crow’s-feet on your eyes only slightly starker, you wrap your fingers around the air where her calf should be, knead it as if it were fully there. You continue down her invisible foot, rub its bony upper side before cupping the heel with your other hand, pinching along the Achilles’ tendon, then stretching the stiff cords along the ankle’s underside. When you turn to me once more, I run to fetch a towel from the case. Without a word, you slide the towel under the phantom limb, pad down the air, the muscle memory in your arms firing the familiar efficient motions, revealing what’s not there, the way a conductor’s movements make the music somehow more real. Her foot dry, the woman straps on her prosthesis, rolls down her pant leg, and climbs off. I grab her coat and help her into it. You start walking over to the register when she stops you, places a folded hundred-dollar bill in your palm.

— Ocean Vuong

Meditations on Palm Sunday

The word endures. The Word endures. We who stand among the Palm Sunday crowds know that the Word will soon be beaten, mocked, and killed. We know, too, that that is not the end of the tale. — Jan Richardson

“Hey sanna, ho sanna, sanna, sanna, hey sanna, ho sanna sanna sanna , ho sanna, hey sanna, Hey, hey JC, JC won’t you smile at me. …” — Webber and RiceJesus Christ Superstar (rock opera)

Songs


Blessing of Palms
This blessing
can be heard coming from a long way off.
This blessing is making its steady way
up the road toward you.
This blessing
blooms in the throats of women,
springs from the hearts of men,
tumbles out of the mouths of children.
This blessing
is stitched into the seams
of the cloaks that line the road,
etched into the branches
that trace the path,
echoes in the breathing
of the willing colt,
the click of the donkey’s hoof
against the stones.
Something is rising beneath this blessing.
Something will try to drown it out.
But this blessing
cannot be turned back, cannot be made to still its voice,
cannot cease to sing its praise
of the One who comes along the way it makes.
—Jan Richardson

Hosanna: Help Us!

The Hebrew word Halleluia means “praise the Lord;” Hosanna means “save us!” or “save!” The Palm Sunday crowd falsely assumed that Jesus would bring political liberation.— Steve Vredenburgh

We think of “Hosanna” as a shout of praise, but the basic meaning of this Hebrew word is “Help!” It is an SOS cry. That appears to be the way the first Palm Sunday crowd used it. Having heard of Jesus’ ability to feed an army with a school boy’s lunch and His recent accomplishment of bringing a dead Lazarus back to life, they were convinced He was a candidate for the monarchy. “Jesus, Help! Expel our hated Roman rulers. You be our King!” How disappointed they were when Jesus, after riding into the capitol city on the wave of the crowd’s enthusiasm, merely looked around and walked back out. — Merwin VanDoornik

But what I didn’t know until this week is what the word “hosanna” actually means.  All these years, I thought it meant some church-y version of “We adore you!” or “You rock!” or “Go, king!”  It doesn’t.  In Hebrew, it means something less adulatory and more desperate.  Less generous and more demanding.  It means, “Save now!”  — Debie Thomas

“Hosanna” 
does come from an old Hebrew phrase, but one that was less praise and more desperate plea. “Save now!” It was a phrase stripped of all pretense of politeness. “Help!” Its insistent cry was one reserved for royalty or divinity. “Deliver us! Don’t wait!” The people are either calling Jesus “king” or “God” or both. … My own mind is drawn today to Anne Lamott’s book, which you have heard us reference a few times: Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers. In it, Lamott says that all prayers boil down to these three simple words: help, thanks, wow. And more often than not, these concepts overlap and run together. … I think a truly holy Hosanna can hold these three words together, this help, thanks, and wow. Hosanna cries for deliverance. It calls out in gratitude. And it gives voice to holy awe. — Marthame Sanders

By Which Gate? 

Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan argue that two processions entered Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday two thousand years ago; Jesus’s was not the only Triumphal Entry.
    Every year during Passover — the Jewish festival that swelled Jerusalem’s population from its usual 50,000 to at least 200,000 — the Roman governor of Judea would ride up to Jerusalem from his coastal residence in the west.  He would come in all of his imperial majesty to remind the Jewish pilgrims that Rome demanded their complete loyalty, obedience, and submission.  The Jewish people could commemorate their ancient victory against Egypt and slavery if they wanted to.  But if they tried any real time resistance, they would be obliterated without a second thought. 
      As Pilate clanged and crashed his imperial way into Jerusalem from the west, Jesus approached from the east, looking (by contrast) ragtag and absurd.  Unlike the Roman emperor and his legions, who ruled by force, coercion, and terror, Jesus came defenseless and weaponless into his kingship.  Riding on a donkey, he all but cried aloud the bottom-line truth that his rule would have nothing to recommend it but love, humility, long-suffering, and sacrifice.  — Debie Thomas

The Rest of the Week

It seems reasonable to me that people choose to go from the Big Parade to the Empty Tomb and skip the stuff that makes them uncomfortable: stuff like how Jesus ate his last meal with the people he loved most, all of whom (perhaps like me) would betray abandon or deny him, that these friends (perhaps like me) couldn’t even stay awake while he prayed in the garden, that the crowd (perhaps like me) would strike and taunt him for not living up to their expectations, that the people would (perhaps like me) shout crucify him! And twist him a crown of thorns, that passersby would (perhaps like me) shout “for God’s sake, save yourself”.  Because we would save ourselves.  And the fact that Jesus got himself killed in a totally preventable way never once showing enough self-respect to fight back or get himself off that damned cross…well maybe he had it coming. — Nadia Bolz-Weber

Five hundred years after that  … this story continues, the story of God’s decision to not hold back and watch to see what we might do on our own but instead to get involved, to take matters into the divine hands, to join God’s own self to us fully and completely so that we might live and die – and live again! – in hope and courage. That’s the story we tell, the story of this week’s dramatic reading, the story of God’s passionate and relentless quest to redeem each and all of us in love.  — David Lose

MON, April 15 – SUN, April 21 (Holy Week)

THIS WEEK at Jackson Community Church and Around Town
Highlights @ JCC: Tue – Deacons & Author’s Night with Janis Pryor’s Dinner with Trixie, Wed – Council Meeting, Thurs – Yoga & AA & Maundy Thursday Meal & Service, Fri – Way of the Cross & Ecumenical Worship (Madison Church), Easter Sun – Sunrise Service (Gazebo) & Easter Worship with Egg Hunt. Around Town: Thurs – Story Time for Toddlers (Jackson Library), Fri – Concert with Dominique Dodge & Trio (Whitney Community Center)


MON, April 15

  • BOSTON MARATHON
    Boston, MA
    Cheer wheelchair athlete Dr William Tan (W45) from Singapore, who races for Bright Happy Power and the Doktor family. #BostonMarathon #GoWilliamTan

TUE, April 16

  • CLERGY LUNCH
    12:30pm • Center Conway, NH
    Clergy of the Eastern Slop gather to prepare Good Friday service. Rev Gail attends.
  • DAISY SCOUTS
    3:45-4:30pm • Parish House, Jackson Community Church
  • DEACON TEAM MEETING
    4pm • 2nd Floor, Jackson Community Church
    Meet to plan worship and care of congregation/community.
  • AUTHOR NIGHT
    7pm • Jackson Community Church
    Dinner with Trixie by Janis Pryor.
    Come for the reading and stay for the Q&A, which promises to be a rich introduction to a larger community conversation about race. Dinner with Trixie explores the past and the present within a slave-owning family, the enduring legacy of racism, personally, institutionally and culturally.

WED, April 17

  • COUNCIL MEETING
    7pm • Jackson Community Church
    Church officers and lay leaders review church operations and mission, make decisions and conduct business for life of church.

THURS, April 18

  • BLISS YOGA with Anjali Rose
    9am • First Floor, Parish House / Jackson Community Church. Beginning stretch, flow and align yoga; safe for new practitioners. Weather dependent; if schools are delayed or closed, the class will be cancelled.
  • Community Event: STORY TIME for TODDLERS
    10:30am • Jackson Library
  • MAUNDY THURSDAY 5pm • Jackson Community Church Dinner and worship around common table. Soup & bread supper provided by deacons.
  • AA
    6:30pm • Second Floor, Church. 

FRI, April 19

  • STATIONS of the CROSS
    Noon-3pm • Jackson Community Church
  • Community Event: ECUMENICAL HOLY FRIDAY WORSHIP SERVICE
    6:30pm • Madison Church
    Service created in collaboration by several churches in Mt Washington Valley. Pick-up choir directed by Catherine Marker of Madison Church; singers from all churches welcome, music available for your perusal (contact Rev Gail if you want a copy). Officiated by Clergy of the Eastern Slope (Rev Gail participates).
  • Community Event: CONCERT with DOMINIQUE DODGE & TRIO
    7-8:45pm • Whitney Community Center
    Tickets available at the door.

SUN, April 21: EASTER SUNDAY

  • SUNRISE SERVICE 
    6am • Gazeboby Jackson Historical Society
  • ADULT CHOIR PRACTICE
    9am • Jackson Community Church
    Choir Practice with Ellen Schwindt
  • INTER-GENERATIONAL CHOIR PRACTICE
    10am • Jackson Community Church
    Children and youth join adult choir to prepare for worship.
  • EASTER WORSHIP 
    10:30am • Jackson Community Church
    * Choral music
    * Harp by Dominique Dodge
    * Flowering of the cross
  • EASTER EGG HUNT 
    11:45am • Jackson Community Church
    Community Easter egg hunt following worship. Children may participate, accompanied by adults.
Scroll to top