Wednesday of Holy Week
Today’s readings: Jeremiah 17:5-10, 14-18; Philippians 4:1-13; John 12:27-36
“Therefore, my brethren, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved…rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, Rejoice. Let all know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand. Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:1, 4-7).
This may seem an unusual reading for Wednesday of Holy Week. Consider it something of an interlude. In the book of Revelation, interludes often appear in-between major visions given to John. The interludes are a pause, a time to catch one’s breath before the troubling, powerful, or moving next part.
Tomorrow, we will observe Maundy, or Command Thursday, as Jesus institutes the Lord’s Supper, commanding, “do this.” We then follow to the Garden, where he will pray, be arrested and begin the events of His final day. It will be moving, troubling, powerful. Today, we have an interlude that reminds us, in the midst of the emotions of the passion, to stand firm, to rejoice in the Lord, to have no anxiety about anything, offering prayers and supplications, with thanksgiving, to God.
And don’t forget the last sentence above: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Although we may shed some tears as we sing “O Sacred Head Now Wounded” and “Were You There,” we do so knowing, knowing that Jesus has won the victory!
We observe the Three Days assured that Jesus, who was crucified, is risen! We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but neither do we want to grieve as those who have no hope. The peace of God will keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Prayer: Lord God, in spite of our observance, in spite of struggles and challenges in life, keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, that we may have your peace. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by the Rev. Dr. David M. Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism.