Although Scripture does not explicitly say so I’ve always had the impression that God is lonely. When God divides the light from the darkness, pulls lands from the sea, makes sea monsters and every living thing, God must be almost more lonely than when the earth was still a formless void. With all of the beauty in the world, who is there to share it with?
So, God creates people out of the desire to be known. Maybe its part of being made in God’s image that we are born stamped with this longing too. We sing, dance, build, walk across the Appalachian trail looking, if not for God then for completeness. As we search we find that almost everything beautiful has some loneliness in it too – the crimson mesas in the deserts of the south west, the Mona Lisa’s haunted smile and that branch incased in ice by your kitchen window.
Like Moses led his people through the Red Sea, among many other things Holy Week is a procession Jesus leads through loneliness. Alone in a crowd on Palm Sunday, Jesus doesn’t enter Jerusalem to defeat our enemies as we had hoped, but to save them. After supper on Maundy Thursday he tells us if we love him we will love each other “like this”. Then he gets on his knees and washes our feet, exposing and bewildering us. Before we know, he knows we will run all away on Good Friday and and his love will be ridiculed, cheapened and denied. In the end, Jesus will die in a loneliness the size of an ocean, in a Godless world.
Holy Week beckons us to stop distracting ourselves from the emptiness we fear and look. Have we sunk so deep into mistrust, resentment, apathy and fear that we are beyond the grasp of a Love strong enough to pull us back?
At 3pm on Friday, when God breathes God’s last, the answer is “yes”. It’s too late. But on Sunday, when we come to lay flowers at the tomb where our hope died, we will find it empty and there will be a messenger, neither a man nor an angel, telling us to head back into life where Christ, who is entirely unreasonable in his love, will meet us again.
Come and see.
Your sister in Christ,