The gospels don’t say exactly what the Lord did on Wednesday of Holy Week, but scholars speculate that after two exhausting days in Jerusalem, he probably spent this day resting in Bethany with Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha. He breathed deeply. He let the sun shine on his face and the breeze rustle his hair as he sat among friends in thanksgiving.
It is not a sign of weakness, to rest. And, in fact, we find a particular permission in how Jesus chose to spend this time. Between this week’s bookend of arrival, cursing the fig tree, cleansing the temple, being questioned, and sharing parable after parable to reach his people, and the bookend of his betrayal, accusal, condemnation, and crucifixion, Jesus briefly retreated to a place of comfort and familiarity. He retreated to a place of hope. Here we find a permission to tend to our very human needs for community and restoration while on the journey back to the Father.
Today we are invited to take advantage of moments to rest with him, as he prepares for the three most difficult days of his life. In every conversation and moment of prayer, we can plant ourselves beside him, feeling the same sun and the same breeze. Today is a day for the nearness of friends.
Jesus, I ask for the grace to be content just being with you today, keeping you company and giving you space to exhale. I want to exhale my worries and fears too, making more space for you in my life. Help me to retreat with you to a place of hope, in anticipation for the trials tomorrow will bring. May my nearness be a balm to the suffering you will endure for love of me.