in all the years i've been involved in the institution of the church, transfixed (and occasionally trapped and/or transformed) by the traditions of Passion/Holy/Easter Week, i've always felt that in the rush to move from Palm Sunday to Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Resurrection/Easter Sunday, Monday through Wednesday tended to get the short end of the deal. Did NOTHING of any real significance happen on those days to warrant such disregard to these poor, overlooked 'middle children' of the Holy Week 'family'? i feel for them as the proverbial 'Jan Bradys' of the Passion story, always crying out, 'Easter, Easter, Easter!'
well, after doing some intense and painstaking research on the matter (read: Wikipedia), i made a discovery that has brought a new ray of sunshine into the grey doldrums of my experience of this most harrowing and holy time of the church year.
while many christian traditions simply put the word 'holy' in front of every day of the week, it seems that in some western traditions, wednesday has been given a name all its own to commemorate one of the most pivotal occurences in the whole drama...
the meeting of the high priests of israel with judas iscariot.
the one who would ultimately betray Jesus into the hands of the religious and political authorities for thirty pieces of silver.
the authorities who felt increasingly threatened by Jesus and his message of Love without conditions...Love that transcends barriers of race and religion and creed...Love that displays power in weakness and authority in humility...Love that drives out all fear...Love that prays forgiveness for all people rather than preying upon them.
the name this special day has been given?
sounds like a name for a new franchise of semi-blockbuster action movies, no? i mean, you could make at least seven in the series...the tie-ins with fasts food and retail chains are ready-made ('sneak away with free fries on spy friday!')...even the action figures could have different wardrobes AND super powers for each day of the week ('mind-reading in mauve on mondays').
but lest i jest and digrest any further...
spies actually have had an important role in the history of redemption...
in the old days, there weren't just twelve tribes of ancient israelites...at one point, moses sent out a delegation of twelve spies to go into the promised land of canaan ahead of the rest of the nation to scope it out, discern what the rogue oppressors of God's chosen people who laid claim to the land were up to, and see what they'd have to do to seize the oppressors and inhabit the land (numbers 13). unfortunately, that ended badly, with all but two of the spies inciting the israelites into rebelling against moses and attempting to go back to the 'good ol' days' of life (and slavery) in egypt.
and forty or so years later, joshua sent two unnamed spies into the region of jericho to get a sneak peak as to what awaited them there (joshua 2). they met a 'hooker with a heart of gold' named rahab who told them what they were hoping to hear...that ultimately, the land would be theirs (even though it would come at a cost of human life and dignity that is unfathomable to attribute to the 'will' of an unconditionally loving deity).
so, in one sense, judas was just following in a line of tradition laid down before him by his ancestors when he agreed to be a 'spy'...to infiltrate the community of followers of Jesus who were seen by the religious authorities as 'rogue oppresors' of their religious traditions, and report back to those terrified authorities so they could plot a way to seize the main 'oppressor' and injunct their authority once again upon the chosen nation (even though it would come at a cost of human life and dignity that is unfathomable to attribute to the 'will' of an unconditionally loving deity).
perhaps we could call it 'Deja Vu Wednesday' as well.
it seems that no matter how much 'spying' happens in life...enacting our deep desire to somehow look into the future and find something, anything to grab ahold of to give us some kind of illusion of control over the happenings in our world, the circumstances in our lives...the ultimate result of all the 'spying' is, on one level or another, simply more 'dying'.
and what kills isn't ultimately curiosity...
it is denial (ask judas, or peter for that matter).
it is delusion (that we actually have some kind of control over the destiny of others).
it is fear (of the Love that sets ALL people free).
on this 'Spy Wednesday', perhaps i could spend a little less time trying to 'spy' out what might happen in my life in the next few years, or months, or weeks, or days, or even minutes...and spend a little more time actually trusting, loving, giving, living my life for the gift that it is....allowing that Love to drive out my fears and delusions and denials, and embody itself in me and through me in a way that inspires and enables others to experience life in a way that sets ALL of us free.
then again, maybe i should just spin my franchise idea to disney and get my thirty(million) pieces of silver while i can. ;)