Scenes of Bethany: “Behold we go up to Jerusalem”
Contemplation, Activity & Resurrection in the Passion of Christ
Address # 1
“Behold we go up to Jerusalem”. Lent is a time of purpose and direction. It presents a needful reminder of an essential characteristic of our Christian lives. Lent is more than a season. In a profound sense, it signifies the whole of our Christian life. At the very least, it reminds us that our lives have a purpose and a direction, and, more importantly, that our lives find their truth in the purpose of God towards us.
Nowhere else do we see that purpose more clearly and more powerfully than on the way of the cross. That way means more than just the steps to Calvary. It means the entire life of Jesus Christ. The whole life of Christ is the way of the cross. It is the way of sacrificial love, the way of the Son’s love for the Father eternally and that way in the very flesh of our humanity.
The cross may be veiled before us as, for instance, in Passiontide. It may be dimly seen. Yet it is ever present and its presence ever felt. It belongs to the purpose of Jerusalem: “He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved” (Eph.1.5,6), as St. Paul writes to the Ephesians. He goes on to say:
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace which he lavished upon us. for he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. (Eph.1.7-10).
“In him we have redemption through his blood”. “He has made known to us his purpose which he has purposed in Christ”. The Lenten season, like the Lent of our lives, is not something aimless and indefinite. It is full of purpose and direction. The going up to Jerusalem is a journey in which the end of the journey is somehow known and somehow present in the means of the journeying.