“Loosened Liturgies And Open Eyes”
Liturgy can be a powerful thing. The rituals, ceremonies, and traditions of worship can provide us well-worn paths as we try to follow the way of Jesus in faithfulness. We see even here that Jesus was himself one who found value in the familiar rhythms life so often provides. Each day, we’re told, He was teaching to gathered crowds in the temple. Each night He was sleeping on the Mount of Olives. Such was the pattern of Jesus’ last days of ministry in Jerusalem. If you have not found a particular liturgy in your personal devotional life, perhaps this week might be a perfect time to try some on for size. Keeping a predictable rhythm in life or couching our faith journey in the ancient (or not-so-ancient) rites of our favorite liturgies can be helpful tools for living lives of faithfulness.
For others of us, however, if we’re not careful, we can elevate practices and liturgies (religious or otherwise) to the point that our fear of losing them might blind us to the work of God in our midst. This, it seems was the case for the chief priests and teachers of the law. We are told that as Passover draws near, they are looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. Perhaps, really, they were afraid the people’s interest in Jesus would keep them from engaging in those practices they held sacrosanct. Perhaps for some of us, as we draw ever nearer the cross this week, we can be challenged to detach ourselves from our familiar patterns, to loosen our grip on our beloved traditions, and let our fear of upsetting the status quo be replaced with an openness to what God is doing.
Today is the day, this passage is the turning point. Jesus’ ministry as teacher is drawing to a close. Passover is drawing near. As we begin Luke 22, we begin Jesus’ passion narrative. What steps might you take to walk into it with eyes wide open to experience it more fully this year than ever before?
Luke 21:37-22:2 (ESV):
37 And every day he was teaching in the temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet. 38 And early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple to hear him.
1 Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. 2 And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people.