Welcome to Holy Week

They Wanted the Kingdom Without the CrossWelcome to Holy Week. With the celebration of Palm Sunday, we enter into the holiest of weeks. It's a week when we often talk about walking the steps of Christ to the cross, remembering his passion, remembering his death.Walk in his steps?The reality? We align better with the disciples during Holy Week. We scatter and hide, unable to be a witness. We scatter because this following Jesus stuff is not as terrific and filled with riches as perhaps we believed. Like the disciples, we find ourselves so tired, so burdened with our own lives that we miss the Life that is right in front of us (in His word, in His Sacrament, in the certainty of Heaven).Maybe we connect even better with the Palm Sunday crowd? Palm branches waving looking for peace and victory. Time for the world to change. No authoritarian oppression. No more looking over our shoulders to see if we will be judged for being a follower.The peace we seek is peace on earth, a worldly peace, a peace without wars and fighting, a peace that gives a quiet life. Victory? Yes, we want victory too. We love to win, we side with winners, we cheer on our winners. Those "Hosannas" of Palm Sunday includes anticipation of the winner's life. Losers? We don't want to admit we lose or even become acquainted with loss. Loss of anything... including self and our life... no way. Bring it on Jesus. We want all the good stuff... now.However, Passion Week, and its beginning with Palm Sunday, is the strong reminder that the kingdom doesn't come without the cross. In fact, the kingdom only comes through the cross.Jesus gives us the kingdom only through his cross.We see God's kingdom through the One who has lived life for us. Instead of embracing his fame, Jesus humbly came into Jerusalem on a donkey. No special steed, no special clothes, no famous entourage. Just Old Testament songs, palm branches and throngs of people to welcome this King. And though there were times in His life that he seemed cornered into certain death and walked away, in this appointed time he humbly took on all shame, pain and death by crucifixion.In a gory, messy, turn-your-head death that seemed like the end of a potential reign, Jesus died.He died for you; He died for me. Our sins. Our selfishness; our pride; our desire for glory. Our sins sent Him to the cross.This week, our students will hear of a Savior who loves them to death. They will hear of his passion for us; a passion that selflessly took him to the cross. Oh, we won't leave Him on the cross. The message has a glorious ending. But for this week of school, we will rightly look at his obedience, his humility, his death and thank God for the redemption Jesus won for us on Calvary."Thy Kingdom come."Indeed, through the cross.