2/24/2013 Laura Willis, Editor of the Sewanee Mountain Messenger
Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18
At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, ‘Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.’ He said to them, ‘Go and tell that fox for me, “Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed away from Jerusalem.” Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.”’ –Luke 13:31-35
I like the anticipation and suspense contained in a good novel, a thrilling movie, or even a birthday. I like not knowing what is coming so that I can fully experience the surprise, whether it be one of delight (a loving gift) or of horror (the creature bursting out of the guy’s chest in “Alien”).
Jesus is not big on surprises. Throughout the Gospels, he keeps reminding the people around him that he is going to Jerusalem, foreshadowing his death over and over again. This is one of those times when I would rather be left blissfully in the dark about Jesus’ journey. It would be so much easier if I didn’t already know how this story turns out with the pain and suffering of the crucifixion.
But Jesus won’t let me, or you, off so easy. Jesus wants us to see clearly the death he is going to die. He wants us to understand that he gave his life so that we might have eternal life. By pointing us to the cross, Jesus also wants us to remember that without a crucifixion, there can be no resurrection.
This is what we are called to in Lent, I believe: To take an honest evaluation of our own journey and make a clear-eyed assessment to see where our path is taking us. It is an opportunity to put aside the naïveté of surprise and embrace the work that Jesus has laid out for us to do.