Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Reading for Passion

We often choose a study book for Lent. This year, during Holy Week, my personal devotions will be guided by The Cross and the Colliery by N. T. Wright (London: SPCK, 2007).*
Bishop Wright offers a sermon cycle on the themes of each day of Holy Week, from the Passion to Easter. In his sermon at the Eucharist on Palm Sunday, he suggests the figure of a four-part harmony to explain how we should see the Scriptures - and ourselves, in light of it.
  1. The melody:  the story of Jesus from Palm Sunday to Good Friday.
  2. The bass line:  underlying the gospel theme, the story of the love of God the creator for his suffering world, the Old Testament. 
  3. The tenor:  the story of our own world, our own community.
  4. And the alto part:  your own personal story.
So: the Gospel story, the Old Testament story, the story of our whole community, and the stories of our individual personal experiences: each of these is an essential part in the harmony we sing together as we embark on the pilgrim way of Lent. And it is the song we sing as we approach Jerusalem in Holy Week, bearing at first palm branches and human hopes, as we progress through the events of the greatest week on the Christian calendar, from Palm Sunday through the days and nights of the week, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and at last the new beginning, Easter morning.

*published in the US as Christians at the Cross: Finding Hope in the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus (Ijamsville, MD: The Word Among Us, 2007)

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