At the beginning of Holy Week, we stand with Jesus before the gates of a city.
The eternal city, a city loved and fought over in equal measure for millennia. A city where God is to be found, and it is with Jesus this week, if you dare join us as we journey together in this city of our making, that we too will find God.
As we stand before the gates of Jerusalem with our Lord, We know that once we pass through these gates, once we enter this Holy week we shall be swept up in events that we cannot control and that will bring us to the very edge of what we can bear, as we walk with our Lord to Calvary and the tomb.
Holy tells us that God is able to change everything about us – our fear, our sin, our guilt, our untruthfulness. But to receive that change in the actual circumstances of our lives , to received the hope of life in all its fullness that is THE Easter many of us are content to embrace without first visiting the upper room or walking through dusty and dangerous streets, without struggling up the hill of crucifixion, we need to make this Holy week ours.
We need to see these precious few days as an opportunity to live our lives through the lives of those first followers of Jesus Christ who went on to change this world for ever and find in all the twists and turns of their lives that God is truly with us and never forsakes us.
Jesus does not steer us away from the gates and send us back into the holy silence of the desert or the peace of the countryside. He keeps us close to him as we stand at the gates, and he tells us that these are also the gates of heaven.
If you are prepared to be caught up in the drama of these next few days, if you are choose to come and be part of the beautiful liturgies that mark this Holy week, If you are prepared to walk with Jesus into the city, to the cross and the tomb, there is a joy and a mystery at the end of the path, because it is inexhaustible divine love that walks with us. We stand not just at the gates of the city of wrong, the great city where the Lord was crucified, as revelation says, but also at the entrance to the Garden of Eden. For our journey past these gates take us to a garden and in that garden the place where the miracle of life is made clear as with the rising of sun the darkness and chaos of this city is transformed by the light of the risen Son.
At these city gates, we see endless possibilities. We can enter with Jesus and walk with him to his garden of new life. Or we can enter and find ourselves caught up in the murderous crowds, and, at the end of it all, find ourselves with hands both empty and bloodstained. Or we can stay at the gates, unwilling to commit ourselves because we know that as soon as we enter there will be trial and suffering; but if we stay there, we shall never reach the garden. How much do we want to be there, where God walks with us again in the cool of the day?