Maundy Thursday Rev Heller Gonzalez
A mixed bag of emotions
Preparation for a journey can be a double–edged sword. I think about the excitement I used to feel as a child when my mother used to start, methodically, packing the cases a week before we went on summer holiday; the planting of bulbs in the autumn; preparing for an anticipated show of spring flowers; or the writing of invitations to a special party or wedding.
But there is another ingredient mixed into this excitement. That is anxiety!
There is the anxiety that all will go well with the travel; that the flight will be on time; the hotel will be decent; that rabbits, squirrels or foxes will not dig up my lovingly planted bulbs; that people will turn up to our party; that there will be enough food and drink.
Yes, a double edged sword, mixed emotions! A bit like returning to our Church buildings for worship, which should help us feel better but some folk are anxious and not without a little fear.
How did you celebrate Palm Sunday? It was a double-edged sword occasion for Jesus, hailed and honoured as a King on the Sunday, yet he knew within days he would be dead.
The night before his death, hours before his arrest, Jesus gathered his disciples and shared bread and wine with them. He told them: “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another as I have loved you.” He washed his disciples’ feet knowing who was going to betray Him. That was why he said “Not all of you are clean.”
Mixed emotions. Anticipation coupled with anxiety.
And yet as sure as the spring flowers bloom after all, and as we emerge from lockdown on the road to “normality”, so too Jesus will emerge from that ordeal a week later at the Resurrection.
And there was Thomas – still not convinced; Peter, riddled with remorse having denied he even knew Jesus; then broken Judas hanging on a tree, realising what an eternally awful thing he had done for a few quid!; then John, now convinced of who Jesus was and all that He had said; and then Mary, excited and afraid at the same time; and there were the other disciples gathered in the upper room, confused and frightened that the fate of Jesus was soon to be theirs too; a mixed bag of people – and a mixed bag of emotions!
But when they all eventually saw Jesus later that first Easter day, joy and excitement took over. Jesus got the job done, death, our final, feared frontier was conquered, sins forgiven, and life abundant was freely offered to all.
I wish you all a joyful and blessed Easter.
Revd Heller Gonzalez, Rector: St Augustine’s, Dumbarton.