John 19:10-11 “Why don’t you talk to me?” Pilate demanded. “Don’t you realize that I have the power to release you or crucify you?” But Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above.”
Words. There have been so many words. Jesus’ last words to his disciples take five chapters to record.
John 13: You will believe that I am the Messiah…The one who eats my food has turned against me…I will be with you only a little longer…Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.
John 14: Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me…I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me…Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father…the Holy Spirit will teach you…I am leaving you with a gift—peace. The ruler of the world approaches. He has no power over me…
John 15: I am the grapevine, and my Father is the gardener…Apart from me, you can do nothing…Your joy will overflow…I will send you the Spirit of truth.
John 16: Your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy!…Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
John 17: Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son…Holy Father, protect by the power of your name all who are mine, so that they will be united just as we are…I protected them…I guarded them…Now I am coming to you…Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them not the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth…May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me.
Yesterday Rev. Mark Stevenson presented for us dramatically, by memory, in a sanctuary stripped of all adornment, the whole of John 18 and 19. You can watch it here. Cross of Jesus, cross of sorrow, where the blood of Christ was shed, perfect Man on thee did suffer, perfect God on thee has bled! (Wm J. Sparrow-Simpson, 1887). And by Christina Rosetti, set to music by Chris Massa, Am I stone and not a sheep That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy Cross, To number drop by drop Thy Blood’s slow loss, And yet not weep? Not so those women loved…
Tomorrow at 6:00 a.m. we will enter the sunrise service in darkness. At one magical moment, the organ will pour forth glorious praise as the lights explode the darkness to reveal the church no longer stripped, but bursting with flowers.
And for the first time since Lent began, we will once again say “Alleluia, Alleluia.”