April 1, 2023
People of God,
I pray that as you read this you are uplifted and inspired as we enter the holiest week of the year.
I will confess to all of you that this is the most exciting time of the year for me as a Christian. As a young boy, I dreamt of being an acolyte. I could recall attending mass at my grammar school every first Friday of the month excited to see the processional cross lifted high as the procession took place. As my fellow classmates wished the mass would finish due to early dismissal, I could not have slowed the procession down as the acolytes and the priest made their way to the altar.
When I began to attend my home church, the assistant pastor gave me an opportunity to carry the cross. Every Sunday for twenty-three years, I had the honor and privilege of lifting high the cross and leading the procession as we gave thanks and praise to God.
Holy Week was extremely special as we stood in the middle of Times Square blessing the palms, gathering with our Episcopalian and Methodist brothers and sisters in Christ, the lights of Times Square shining bright upon each of us at the crossroads of the world and busy street corners being silenced by our presence.
As we processed back to our church homes people would reach out seeking palms and asking what was taking place. l, carrying the wooden cross leading the procession chanting “All glory, laud, and honor to you, Redeemer, King, to whom the lips of children made sweet hosannas ring.” Who would have ever thought that God would call that youth to proclaim God’s word and administer his Sacraments to the multitudes in the years to come.
As we prepare our hearts and minds, reflecting on the events that will take place during this Holy Week, I ask you to take a moment and relate to any of the people you will hear about this week. I ask you to think about the role and their relationship with the Son of God. I ask you to think about how Jesus interacts with them and what Jesus will do for all of them at the end as he exclaims “It is finished.”
This year, congregation, as I think about the people Jesus came in contact with, I think about Simon of Cyrene. Simon of Cyrene is mentioned in three of the four gospels as the man impelled by the Roman soldiers to carry Jesus’ cross out of Jerusalem. Simon of Cyrene most likely felt the blood of Jesus and touched the wounds on the body of Christ on the day Jesus died.
This week as we journey to the cross with Christ, we may not be carrying the cross of Christ, but we too will experience the pain and suffering our Lord endured for us. For us, our Lord and Savior beheld the lifegiving cross for the salvation of the whole world. Let us journey together to the cross as our week calls us to center our thoughts and deeds around our humble servant king who has come to serve, love, and forgive us.
In our own walks of life, people of God, may we allow the one who will overcome darkness from the grave to shine forth in each of us as we proclaim shouts of praise to the one we will lift up high the cross.
A blessed Holy Week to you for it is impossible for one to move forward in the future unless one knows the past as we shout Alleluia, Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia!
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Jonathan J. Recabarren