Liturgy & Dramatic Enactment
In his book, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C.S. Lewis’ describes children, who don’t just have their imaginations captured by a vivid picture of a ship. The image actually captures them, …as it becomes larger and more alive, and pulls them in.
Our redemption is like that picture.
Jesus has written us into his story of redemption, and our participation and benefit is inevitable for people that receive his grace, and yet, we may not always smell the salt in the air, and feel the wind pushing us forward, or the roll of the mighty ocean of his Sovereign Presence…
Special liturgies and services like Maundy Thursday are meant to be a chance to climb past the picture frame, so that we can not only be aware of God’s grace, but touch and feel – smell and taste it.
God of the Vulnerable...Why We Walk in Public –
I felt it last year, and I felt it again this year – I felt silly walking around in public, wearing a robe, with a big group of serious people. Not silly in a “this is ridiculous” kind of way. I felt conspicuous and on display – It feels vulnerable to me. It feels out in the open…EXPOSED.
This is part of climbing past the frame and into the story with these first disciples. They have felt exposed at a few points so far:
When Jesus explained that one of them would betray him, only Judas had actually made arrangements, but they all felt exposed in the weakness of their own devotion.
When Jesus was arrested, they all felt exposed to the danger that came by association, and without hesitation or thought, they panicked; they all left him and fled.
It hasn’t always been this way, BUT this is the refrain for most of the human experience…
Exposed & Vulnerable –
Adam & Eve – Naked & unafraid & unashamed – nothing to hide and no need to guard: Their entire existence was nothing but being known, secure, loved.
After the fall, humanity wanders through strategies & failed attempts. Suddenly known, secure, and loved becomes suspect, vulnerable, & ashamed.
And these things lead us to cover, hide, & protect.
Jesus Steps Into Our Frame –
Tonight’s service might be about helping us climb past the frame, but redemption was accomplished as Jesus stepped past the frame and entered our picture, becoming not just sovereign observer, but saving participant.
He left safety and comfort behind to be vulnerable and exposed – not only WITH US, but IN OUR PLACE!
He didn’t just see our judgment, he climbed onto our cross.
He didn’t just understand our estrangement, his Father abandoned him instead of us.
Jesus didn’t just grieve our death, he locked himself in our grave.
And tonight and tomorrow Lent culminates as we climb past the frames of our routine comfort.
At a distance, the picture he pulls us into looks like one of suffering, it looks like vulnerability more than salvation…but pulled in close, we’ll see it’s a picture – not of our death - death and suffering are just the frame. Jesus is pulling us into his picture of resurrection.
But first, we let him pull us in… past the frame…
To feel some of the weight of these things this evening, we will end by reciting the Apostles’ Creed only so far as Jesus suffers, and then we – like his first friends – will scatter and leave the park in silence…to be re-gathered & reunited by the light of his resurrection Sunday Morning.