The Silent Week

I like my daughter's version of Cavalry. This shows spring and nature coming to life again
I like my daughter’s version of Golgatha, if that’s what it is. It’s spring and nature is coming back to life. She made this for the school’s Easter workshop

We started the so-called silent week today, one that was anything but silent.

easter chicken
My daughter makes the most peculiar chickens

I grew up with glossy pictures, those small ones you can put inside your Bible, and of course Jesus always looked Scandinavian. I have seen a few films too and they are just as glossy.

The Romans seemed more reasonable than they were and even the Jews appeared to be mild, even though they must have been scared that Jesus was going to mess things up. They weren’t exactly at peace with the emperor, but they had established some sort of understanding between themselves and Herod. If Jesus was proclaimed as a political king, as the understanding probably was at the time, they must have thought he would replace the corrupt priesthood.

What happened later when the Romans realized that the Christians were not a Jewish sect also confirmed a fear they may have had, that the fragile peace with the Emperor would break.

My point is that it was a brutal world. The Norwegian Easter tradition may seem morbid and violent, but maybe it was in Jerusalem 2000 years ago too. But on the other hand it may not have been a good strategy to show us a film where Stephen King wrote the script and Steven Spielberg directed it.

One Norwegian Easter tradition is reading crime novels and watching crime series on TV. I suspect this will eventually disappear because there is too much of it now. I used to like it, and may get back to it, but I’m saturated. I wonder what a realistic film of Jesus at the end of his life would look like. I suspect it would be pretty gory. To some of the people watching Jesus it was probably entertainment, as a good murder story is to Norwegians today.

easter chicken
My quirky girl couldn’t make a chicken that was less quirky. This one seem to be wearing a dress.

We also have a tradition with chicken. The Easter Bunny is present, but is less common as that has been recently imported (I think it is mostly British and German as a European tradition). My daughter had an Easter egg hunt with her school, which is very unusual. That’s not a tradition we have, but apparently it’s coming.

It is Palm Sunday today and after the church service there was the traditional “church coffee.” We had to settle for just coffee as we can’t eat those delicious pastries and cakes containing milk and gluten. My daughter took part in an Easter workshop and she brought these two very unique chickens home. This is starting to be a house full of quirky girls.

We do have a very delicious Easter tradition I really can apply myself diligently to, and that’s candy. We eat candy throughout the holiday, and they have some very strange varieties that my daughter likes. I’ve told you about jelly people (our version of the bears). My daughter also like jelly alligators, basket shoes, fish (both sweet and sour), marshmallow mushroom, fried egg and teeth, sour lips etc. Personally I like licorice and I’m trying to figure out why my wife doesn’t like it. She really doesn’t know what she’s missing. We all miss chocolate. We tried milk free chocolate once. That is some of the most disgusting food I have ever eaten. I don’t think it was meant for human consumption. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’d rather ask my wife to make chitlins.

To most Norwegians Easter is mostly about candy, crime and spring. This is when many start their season at their country house and/or get the boat ready for the season. As we are a bit short on country house, boat and just about everything else I”ll try to find some inspiration from the Bible this Easter. The priest today talked about the woman who anointed Jesus Matthew 26: 6-13.  That leads to the interesting question, what can we give?

Time seems to be the most valuable today. That’s what we don’t like to give to others. I am only speculating of course, but I think Jesus knew for a long time that he was going to die. He was running out of time and it must have been hard being burdened with dense disciples. There are clear indications that he didn’t understand everything, but I believe he knew how this was going to end. The fact that he had all the emotions any human has makes this even more powerful.

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12 thoughts on “The Silent Week

  1. You’ve said several things that caught my attention, here. Hopefully, I’ll be back later to comment.

  2. Thanks for sharing your daughter’s artwork with us 🙂

    When we were kids, I tried once to convince my youngest sister that the whole bunny thing was a deception and insisted that we needed to get her an Easter chicken. It never happened, but she’d probably appreciate your tradition.

    You’re family has good taste in candy. I think gummy anything and milk chocolate are my greatest dietary downfalls, but licorice has always been hard to resist, too. I’m thankful to be blessed with strong tooth enamel :/

    The people who insist that they like dark chocolate always make me suspicious that they are just trying to convince themselves that they do, since it’s supposed to be a health food, now. It really is yucky, though.

    The Judeo-Christian heritage is a bloody one. And we should neither white-wash the costliness of Christ’s sacrificial death, nor become so obsessed with His crucifixion that we become blinded to the beauty of the resurrection.

    That leads to the interesting question, what can we give?

    This is an excellent question! Time is indeed a valuable commodity. And Jesus, in His humanity, did have only a limited amount in which He could accomplish His earthly goals. And, we do, too. He constantly gave of Himself and I believe we ought to consider His example to be one we need to follow.

    Cheerfully giving anything that costs you a bit of personal comfort would likely be a suitable response your question. Everyone has a different view of what it is, but we can all be incredibly stingy about sharing the things that we prize the most.

    There are clear indications that he didn’t understand everything, but I believe he knew how this was going to end.

    Absolutely agree with the second half of this statement. But am curious about your thinking behind the first part, as the idea that Jesus lacked necessary insight has never occurred to me.

    You did bring to mind Jesus’ response to His disciples’ question about when He would return…(He said only the Father knew). Is this it?
    I’m wondering if you’d mind explaining what you believe He didn’t understand?

    1. Heather had two questions for me that I will endeavour to answer.

      What is the significance of Silent Week?
      There are clear indications that he didn’t understand everything, but I believe he knew how this was going to end.

      The first one is simple enough. The period between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday is called the silent week. I think people started calling it the silent week a long time ago because the churches didn’t ring the bells during this week. I think there are different versions of it today where the bells are used, but with muffled sound.

      I am not sure why, but I assume this has to do with the gospel. It’s a way of experiencing the events where Jesus was struggling as he was moving towards the end, and the crucifixion. In our modern times people don’t care much about that, and it’s silent beause of the holiday. Thursday, Friday and Monday are holidays and the country basically shuts down. There are no stores open on these days. It’s interesting that the atheists are very eager to reduce the Christian influence, and Christian symbols in the public sphere are an abomination to many people, but they really want to keep these religious holidays. I’m not sure how they are going to justify that.

      It’s not very clear that Jesus didn’t understand his mission. That was not the focus the authors of the gospel wanted to have, but I am thinking of Jesus as a man. I think he had to be human and experience the pain and emotions we experience. It is pretty obvious to me that Jesus had a moment like that in Gethsemane, Mark 14: 32-24.

      Some of the gospels left the troublesome words Jesus spoke on the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Mark 15:34 Again I am just speculating, but I have a feeling that we see the man Jesus in short glimpses. Like us, I think He could see part of the picture. I think Jesus realized that he was here to do something that was necessary since we didn’t live like God intended when He created us.

      It was pretty clear that Jesus wanted us to live like He did, and that he had to suffer alone. God may even have had a plan to use Judas, Herod and the Jews to sacrifice Jesus, but I’m not sure how much Jesus understood. Maybe His understanding gradually increased, but He never fully understood what his mission entailed. I’m not sure He really understood the whole time how it was going to end. Not that it changes anything. In a way it does. I like a more human Jesus bridging the gap between us and God.

    2. Thank you much, John!

      Your explanation of Silent Week makes sense. I suppose the connection to the liturgical calendar had not really occurred to me, as our area of the country is largely anabaptist/non-denominational.

      You’re second response is interesting, as I’ve also frequently considered the difficulties of Jesus being both completely divine and human. How did He manage to do this without compromising some essential aspect of His identity? (That question wasn’t directed at you)

      It’s a ponder-worthy dilemma, for sure.

      It’s obvious that, as He began His earthly existence as an infant, Jesus did have to choose to limit Himself in some ways in order for the experience of His humanity to be authentic. And, I agree with you that His knowledge and understanding must have grown as He learned. This reality has fascinated me for quite a while.

      I like a more human Jesus bridging the gap between us and God.

      Me too. That He really does know what it is like to be one of us is a precious truth to be treasured.

      I’m not sure He really understood the whole time how it was going to end.

      I think He probably did understand by the time He was arrested. But your point about Gethsemane is valid. It does appear that the sudden terrifying realization of what He was about to do finally hit Him with full force.

      My view is probably isn’t the standard seminary explanation, and you aren’t the one who was requesting extended discussion. So I’ll just say that the picture I see is directly related to Jesus being Jewish and having to learn like any other man.

      In my mind, it is the idea that He was completely human and did know the details of His mission that amazes me.

      Thank you again. I appreciate that you took the time to explain your words. 🙂

    3. Maybe this was a part of his human experience where He had information or a certain understanding of what was going to happen, but when the time came, it suddenly got more real than ever before.

  3. Ummm….Norwegians have some interesting traditions. How exactly did the crime/Easter connection come about? Maybe that’s not fair to ask. That might be like asking me to explain the Thanksgiving Day/football connection, which is as baffling to me as the crime/Easter connect.

    Maybe I need to send you guys some chocolate? Not all dark chocolate is nasty. I know…because I eat some nearly every day! 🙂

    I like the red licorice, but haven’t been able to find any that is gluten free.

    Tell your daughter that your readers find her chickens and various “quirky birds” adorable.

    1. I don’t know how Easter came to be “crime-time”. I’m sure I could look it up. If I speculate I think it could be because this has been a popular genre, mainly thanks to a few British authors and BBC.

      Many Norwegians go to their cabins by the sea or in the mountains for Easter, and I assume this was popular because the stories had wide appeal and this is a time when we also like puzzles, quiz and crosswords. I have spent a few Easters in a simple cabin and Agatha Christie books. In a way it makes sense, but it’s some remnant from the time when we only had the state channel.

      I remember with great joy listenning to crime stories as radio drama as a child. That was when I spent Easter in a cabin with no electricity.

  4. When one sacrifices their body, and raises it up again, clearly there’s more going on than what happens in mere body and mind. We’re told in the Word that we have body, soul, and spirit. Paul say’s “a natural body and spiritual body.” Best I can tell, soul is the interface between the two.

    In The Revelation, we’re shown Christ as The Lamb Slain — with 7 Horns and 7 Eyes which are the 7 Spirits of God. That’s just as clearly not merely natural. Some say glorified or spiritual. I’ll say higher dimensional, in the same sense that the angels about the throne of God in Ezekiel and in The Revelation have higher dimensional aspects; sometimes apparently combined, other times distinct. In any case, acting outside the dimensions of space and time as we know them in our mortal forms.

    Grant me please, that when tortured not only does a person go into shock physically, but their mind disconnects. In some cases so much it leads to a fractured personality. Physically, Christ’s body reacted to the exhaustion, torture, and destruction as any of our bodies would. And yet in the midst of it all — he either recalled the Psalm 22 scriptures, quoting part, or went beyond our dimensional limitations as Son of God to share with David the very Revelation of His self sacrifice at the Cross. Much the same as going beyond such limitations “walking on water” or at the Mount of Transfiguration, with Moses and Elijah.

    And scripture is much more pointed about the higher dimensional aspect of His actions in that He is revealed as “slain from from the foundation of the world” (1 Pt. 1:20, Rev. 13:8). And while His body is in the tomb, by way of Peter we’re told that He ministered to those in hell, also taking the keys of hell and death. My point is that the Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension do not show the mere frail human limitations of Christ — but a glimpse of His transcendent Spirit. (i.e. His hyper-dimensional or higher dimensional form)

    And for the saved, we shall be like Him, sharing His Spirit. On our own we can do nothing. He has overcome the world, and flesh, and the devil. And He extends overcoming to us by His Holy Spirit. Those saved are seated together with Him — already — in heaven.

    Ephesians 2:4-6 (and context)

    But God who is rich in mercy…
    – for his great love wherewith he loved us
    – Even when we were dead in sins
    – has quickened us together with Christ
    – by grace we are saved
    – And has raised us up together
    – and made us sit together in heavenly places
    – in Christ Jesus….

    Those truly saved dwell in higher dimensions with Christ….

    (from which the enemy angels are cast out
    — along with those that follow them)

    1. nomemoleste,

      In The Revelation, we’re shown Christ as The Lamb Slain — with 7 Horns and 7 Eyes which are the 7 Spirits of God. That’s just as clearly not merely natural.

      Revelation, as well as the OT prophetic writings, are full of symbolic references. .

      And yet in the midst of it all — he either recalled the Psalm 22 scriptures, quoting part, or went beyond our dimensional limitations as Son of God to share with David the very Revelation of His self sacrifice at the Cross.

      Many (most?) of the Psalms are prophetic in nature. It is amazing to be reading along and suddenly realize the repeated connections to Christ’s life.

  5. John,

    With regards to your comment concerning what Jesus knew about His mission on earth (“There are clear indications that he didn’t understand everything, but I believe he knew how this was going to end.”)……..

    I do not think Jesus’ moment in Gethsemene indicated any lack of understanding on His part as to what His mission was or it’s purpose. Jesus was not confused about this, as all throughout the Gospels He tells His disciples over and over what is going to happen, what His purpose on earth is. THEY are the ones who do not understand. Jesus often quotes the OT prophets when He talks to His disciples about His mission, and those prophecies basically describe what happens and the reason.

    From Isaiah, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our Iniquities, and the chastisement of our peace was upon Him.” There are also descriptions of what happens at the crucifixion in Isaiah.

    Of course, we don’t know WHEN God revealed to Jesus His plan and purpose for Him on this earth. We don’t know if he knew his entire life. I speculate that God revealed these things to Him shortly after beginning His ministry, perhaps when he was the wilderness for 40 days after His baptism by John. I think this very likely due to the things that Jesus says to His disciples throughout His ministry, and it gets closer and closer to the crucifixion, He gets more and more blunt, but they still don’t get it.

    So then, what do we make of Jesus’ prayer in the Garden? “Saying, Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Luke 22:42

    With regards to this, I think Jesus simply dreaded what was to come, not because He didn’t understand it, but because He DID understand it. As you said, He would have experienced the same emotions and feelings you and I would feel under such circumstances. I think in some ways Jesus was like a man on death row, who knew exactly when and how and why he would be executed, but unlike the man on death row, Jesus had a CHOICE. His dilemmas was not wanting to drink that cup, to suffer, and endure what He must, yet wanting to do His Father’s will.

    Interestingly, after Jesus prayed that prayer, Luke 22:43 says, “And there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him in spirit.” So, God did not change His mind about His plan of salvation, but instead sent an angel to Jesus to strengthen Him spiritually to face His ordeal.

    But with regards to His words on the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” I don’t see how these words reflect doubt, confusion, or ignorance about His mission. Instead, I think they reflect something we ALL have experienced……when we are in the “dark forest,” and we feel so alone, so abandoned, when we cannot feel God’s presence at all, and inside we cry the words that Jesus cried. I think it is possible that in those hours that He suffered that He perhaps doubted that God was Him in that agony, but there is no actual indication in Scripture that He doubted God’s plan or purpose or His own role in it. Those words were spoken in pain, agony, and no doubt a great sense of abandonment. In that, yes, I think Jesus was just like us, just as human.

    I don’t think it detracts from Jesus’ humanity to recognize that He did know what God expected of Him and why. Actually, I think this knowledge, this awareness of what He was doing speaks volumes of Jesus’ LOVE for us. Can you imagine knowing the details of the horrible death, humiliation, etc. that you are going to suffer and doing it anyway? To me, it speaks of His love both for His Father and for all of us, it speaks of His obedience, and His self-sacrifice.

    But, that’s just my take on the Scriptures. If it was me, I am not sure I would have wanted to know all the stuff Jesus knew, but His own words and His prayer in the Garden suggest to me he was painfully aware.

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