Last Sunday — Palm/Passion Sunday — we gathered around the table as usual. We opened in prayer. And we began talking about the homework; we began sharing our answers as to what it means & symbolizes for the ‘Living Water’ to be thirsty.
There were answers about Christ fully being human — he should be thirsty, he was there, dying — it is part of the process, for him not to be thirsty would be odd. There were answers that recognized that he knew the scriptures and in fulfilling them, he needed to name that he was thirsty — he was supposed to be thirsty. And then there were answers naming more of a symbolic nature — that he was thirsting for more than a drink, thirsty for the people (all of us) to get it, thirsty for the reconciliation of the world, thirsty because the full weight of the sins of the world were essentially sucking the life out of him. There was talk about so much more, the water and the blood (and the physical things that happen to a body during a crucifixion), there was reference to other scriptures — including Revelation. It is a question, that could be talked about for quite a bit of time, it was one we hadn’t all necessarily often really considered. We also wondered — Jesus says things for a reason, why does he take time to say this, to be thirsty — should we too be thirsty today?
And while still considering the question and going into the somewhat tangents that can always happen because yes, everything is connected — we turned right back to nearly the same exact scripture. To John 19:28-30:
New International Version
28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
And we noticed of course that with the addition of the 30th verse, we have Jesus now saying, “It is finished.” Not the author of the gospel but Jesus himself. Interesting still perhaps in the narration for what is fully finished? And is it really? And yet, there is also the insight that even here, even on the cross, even after everything that came before — Jesus decides when to die, when to give up his spirit — when the mission he set out to accomplish (to reconcile the world to God!) is done — not one second, or even a fraction of a second — before or after — it’s rather amazing to consider that this man — Jesus Christ — fully human & fully God — dictates death even on a cross, powerful if you ask me.
We hear these words from Christ, “It is finished” as we actually begin experiencing Palm/Passion Sunday & Holy Week. And so the homework is a little different this week. This is a week of experiencing God in rather flesh & tactile ways — in experiential ways. The invitation is to find a piece of art — this might be a poem — a painting — a sculpture — something famous or something much less so — that invites YOU to experience Holy Week, to feel holy week. The art might focus on Palm Sunday, or Maundy Thursday, or Good Friday, or Holy Saturday or Easter/Resurrection Sunday — but I am interested in each of us being open to entering the story this week, perhaps entering it in a more visceral and experiential way than ever before — let us be open to feeling (and warning — it might not feel all that good) just how much God loves us y’all. Let us journey together. And let us share (aka show & tell) these pieces of art together on Sunday.
In Christ & looking for resurrection
~Rev. Sabrina Slater