This is Holy Week


Baseball was rained out tonight, but I think we have baseball every other night this week, excepting Easter Sunday. And so I regret I may be distracted from giving my thoughts to Holy Week. But today I found this lovely poem.

By the way, I am learning to read poetry out loud. I think it is best that way.

The Agony
by George Herbert

Philosophers have measured mountains,
Fathom’d the depths of seas, of states, and kings,
Walk’d with a staff to heaven, and traced fountains
But there are two vast, spacious things,
The which to measure it doth more behove:
Yet few there are that sound them; Sin and Love.

Who would know Sin, let him repair
Unto Mount Olivet; there shall he see
A man, so wrung with pains, that all his hair,
His skin, his garments, bloody be.
Sin is that Press and Vice, which forceth pain
To hunt his cruel food through every vein.

Who knows not Love, let him assay,
And taste that juice, which on the cross a pike
Did set again abroach; then let him say
If ever he did taste the like.
Love is that liquor sweet and most divine,
Which my God feels as blood; but I, as wine.

Blood and wine symbolism occur in the Passover meal — the celebration of the Jews’ deliverance from slavery in Egypt — where the third ritual cup of wine, the cup of redemption, is drunk in remembrance of the blood of the passover lamb, God’s provision of a “covering” that allowed the Jews to escape the last and deadliest of the great plagues.

We know the famous “last supper” was the passover meal — and we know that when Jesus took up the cup of wine at the end of the meal, it was this ritual third cup, the “cup of redemption.”

So when he said to those around the table, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant which is to be shed on behalf of many for forgiveness of sins” it was a significant departure from the ritual. Each of the disciples, and Jesus himself, was a Jew whose memories of Passover would reach back into early childhood. They knew how it was supposed to go, so they understood the departure(s) from the ceremony that Jesus made. If Jesus had said, hang up your stockings and tonight *I* will come down the chimney and leave presents in them, even children would know he was claiming he would be taking Santa’s place. Jesus was re-centering the meaning of this “cup of redemption” on himself.

Were the disciples used to this kind of thing out of Jesus by now, or were they stunned anew? The accounts don’t say. At any rate, events rushed on towards the cross, which Jesus knew was approaching and which the disciples would begin to make sense of in hindsight.

Now in communion every week, we take that wine (or rather, its stand-in, grape juice) “in remembrance” not of a passover lamb, but of the Lamb, and what he did, and why he did it, and what it means to us to be “covered” by the blood of this Lamb.

Love is that liquor sweet and most divine,
Which my God feels as blood; but I, as wine.

About katiekind

Enjoying the second half of life. I have three sons who are the apples of my eye and a wonderful husband of 35 years--those are the important things. Long ago, out of the blue, I became a Christian. It was something I never planned on, but what joy it has been. I do website development and I like to read and garden and paint and I love beauty and truth.
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