“There were essentially three crowns casting their shadows around Jesus during Holy Week. The first crowd was made up of the users, those who just wanted something from Jesus, whether a personal miracle or political transformation – consider theirs the shadow selfishness. …
A second crowd around Jesus comprised the abusers. Theirs is the shadow of malevolence. They hated Jesus and his message, wanted him gone and good riddance. …
The third and by far the largest of the crowds was made up of those who were – unaware. Dwelling in the shadow of oblivion, they did not attend the parade on Sunday. They were not at the temple for the ‘cleansing’ or the debates” (Steagald, 132-133).
Scripture: John 12:20-26 (GNT)
“Some Greeks were among those who had gone to Jerusalem to worship during the festival. They went to Philip (he was from Bethsaida in Galilee) and said, ‘Sir, we want to see Jesus.’
Philip went and told Andrew, and the two of them went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has now come for the Son of Man to receive great glory. I am telling you the truth: a grain of wheat remains no more than a single grain unless it is dropped into the ground and dies. If it does die, then it produces many grains. Those who love their own life will lose it; those who hate their own life in this world will keep it for life eternal. Whoever wants to serve me must follow me, so that my servant will be with me where I am. And my Father will honor anyone who serves me.’”
I have to ask myself where do I find myself during this Holy Week? Do I find myself with in one of these three crowds mentioned in today’s reading, living under the shadow of selfishness or malevolence or even oblivion? Easter is often a very busy time for ministers and all of us. But this particular Easter is especially busy because we add to the regular events of this week in the celebration of Easter the closing of the sale of our church and the beginning of a sabbatical in just a few of short weeks. That's a lot to do, a lot to prepare for. So I guess I do see something of the shadow of selfishness and oblivion. Caught up in my own life and all the things that I need to do, it is so easy to miss the people around me, the things that Jesus would have me to see and learn in this week. This is why it has been so helpful for me to be reading about Buddhism, especially with its emphasis on meditation. Buddhism teaches about mindfulness and compassion through meditation. I find myself repeating those words in order to remind myself that this is especially the time to be filled with compassion, to be at peace, and to be mindful of the world around me.
May God's grace enable us to come to Jesus, much like the Greeks in John's text for today, to seek the Christ and be mindful that his love and compassion is what drives our life of faith.