St. Helen’s Daily Lenten Devotional
A hallmark is an identifying trademark, designating the standard or quality of gold and silver, and china and probably a few other things. A symbol, letters and numbers, or a name, usually on the back of a piece, can provide historical information, indicate the place of origin, the creator, artist or craftsperson, as well as a hint to its monetary value.
A piece of china, though, for example, is worth much more than money, when it was gifted by someone beloved, especially when that person is no longer walking their earthly journey with us. .
One of the marks of any authentic, intimate relationship is the commitment to support each other ‘for better and for worse, in sickness and in health’, and I’m not talking solely about marriage vows. During good and happy and healthy days, as well as enduring painful, sad, pandemic or difficult times, we determine to uphold each other. A line in an (old) contemporary Christian song expresses this as it speaks of sharing the Christian journey, of sharing life…”I will weep when you are weeping, when you laugh I’ll laugh with you; I will share your joy and sorrow, till we’ve seen this journey through.”
The original events of Holy Week took place around 33 AD. But, because we are in an authentic, personal relationship with Jesus, we walk with Him, as though we were present, as we reflect on what happened. We remember and even re-enact the story. We hear the Hosannas…Praise God, thank God, the crowds shouted in celebration as they waved their palm branches high and threw their cloaks along the path. And we would like to stay with that joyful throng, but the darkness comes. We feel the coolness of the water as we wash our friends’ dusty feet. We gather for a feast and taste bread and sweet wine, and wonder again at the mystery of His words, “This is my body…this is my blood”; but the darkness comes…And yes, even though we find Jesus’ suffering, what we name Christ’s Passion, so ugly, and so excruciating we would like to avoid it, as most of us would like to avoid pain of any kind …we experience the trial, the torture, the taunts, the stumbling walk bearing the weight of the Cross, the agony and the darkness of the crucifixion and Christ’s death. We experience those events, recall them and, in some small measure, relive them precisely because of the great value we place on our relationship with Our Lord. As we would do for a beloved friend, out of love…as God indeed does, for us, out of love.
In Baptism, “of water, born”, we are marked, hallmarked, with the sign of the cross, “as Christ’s own forever”. I invite you this week to join with our faith community, and faith communities around the globe, as we walk the Way of the Cross.