Follow Me?

Hither ye behind me! Yep; that’s what Jesus said. Modern translations simply say, “Come follow me.” These words of Jesus were an imperative call to present and continuous action. One Greek Grammar says that Jesus was calling for long-term commitment; to habits suited to such a commitment; a commitment that would cultivate virtue leading to a certain lifestyle. Ignatius, working with this big kingdom idea, taught us to follow Jesus by finding God in all things. He and other spiritual masters knew that this meant we had to engage in practices of noticing, reflecting and discerning; learning to be steadily conscious of God, self and others.  Frank Laubach (Letters by a Modern Mystic), stands in this tradition. He writes that submission is the first and last duty of man; that we are learning to respond to God as a violin responds to the bow of the master.  He says this begins with listening, moves to surrender and finds it best fruit in a determined, resolved will to act with God. The question mark we’ve put at the end of Jesus’ imperative is both invitation and call to decisive action to take serious Jesus’ command to come follow me—and in so doing to find, in Laubach’s words, that every day is tingling with the joy of glorious discovery.

– Todd Hunter​

Maundy Thursday, April 17

Reading: John 13:1-17, 31-35

Begin with the above centering prayer, by Peter Traben Haas, as you reflectively read today’s Scriptures.

The word maundy comes from the Latin mandautum or “commandment,” referring to the new commandment Jesus gave his disciples in the upper room—to love one another as he had loved them (John 13:34). When he knew that he had all authority he washed their feet (John 13:3-5). Then Jesus celebrated the Jewish Passover in a way that made the bread and wine our Christian Passover, the sign of the new covenant established through his death and resurrection. As we recall the “night when he was betrayed” (1 Cor. 11:23) the liturgy asks us to see our own sin as the betrayal of Christ—to come to the table no better than Judas with whom Jesus shared bread. When we eat the bread and take the cup we are saying: Jesus’ death was for me. I accept the fact that I am now reconciled through the sacrifice of Jesus. On this night we come face to face with the fact that our peace with God does not come through our moral goodness, but only through Jesus’ death. At the end of the service the altar is stripped, symbolizing the stripping of Jesus’ garments for his crucifixion. All signs of life and color are taken away.

———— See Palm Sunday Reflection Below ————

Palm Sunday, April 13

Readings: Matthew 21:1-11; Philippians 2:5-11; Matthew 27:1-54

Begin with the above centering prayer, by Peter Traben Haas, as you reflectively read today’s Scriptures.

As pilgrims swelled the population of Jerusalem, anticipating the annual Festival of Unleavened Bread that began with Passover, Jesus rode into the city of his ancestor King David. But instead of a general’s war horse, he rode in on a donkey—the symbol of humility and peace (Zechariah 9:9). The pilgrims who were singing Psalms (such as 118:25-26) began laying down their cloaks in his path (symbolizing submission to a king) and waving the palm branches of peace as they cried “Hosanna”—“Help! Save!” Some in this same crowd will shout “Crucify him!” by the end of the week. And so, we begin our Palm Sunday celebration praising this King of Peace, while being aware that in some ways we too are like the fickle crowd.