The phrase “A week is a long time in politics” is attributed to Harold Wilson. Born and brought up in Huddersfield he went on to be an MP and served as Prime Minister for two periods in the 1960’s and 1970’s. The phrase rings true: the fortunes of a politician or political party can change drastically in the course of just one week. As I write it’s difficult to predict the outcome of the Brexit process, nor its effect on our domestic politics. A lot could happen in one week, but it might not.
In the light of eternity, a week isn’t very long at all. However, at this time of year we focus on one world-changing week which has eternal consequences.
This week, the week we know as “Holy Week”, begins with Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey welcomed by crowds waving palm branches and shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
As the week unfolds Jesus visits the Temple, drives out those buying and selling, overturns the tables of the money-changers and further antagonises the religious hierarchy by his radical teaching and criticism of their practices.
Later in the week Jesus celebrates Passover with his disciples, demonstrating servanthood by washing their feet, and adding a new layer of meaning to a long-established celebratory meal: through his broken body and poured out blood true freedom from sin will be made possible.
After the meal, events accelerate. Jesus prays in Gethsemane. He is betrayed by Judas and arrested. He is questioned by the Sanhedrin whilst outside Peter denies knowing him. His accusers take him to Pilate who, against his better judgement, hands him over to be crucified.
Good Friday is filled with pain, for Jesus, his friends and all who contemplate his suffering. Saturday is a waiting day; waiting for the dawn of a new day and a new week.
And then it’s Sunday. The tomb is empty. Death is defeated. Christ is risen!
Just one week has passed since Palm Sunday – but everything has changed. Hallelujah!
Rev Heather Pollard