Jesus said to his disciples, ‘You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.’ (Matthew 26.1-2)
It was a wake-up call, almost literally. This was the fourth day that they had been in Jerusalem. So far, each day had followed a similar pattern – entering the city, Jesus teaching, confronting, challenging the leadership of the Temple and the Jewish people, the crowds listening to his teaching and then Jesus leaving the city as darkness fell. Now he warns them again what will happen. It’s only two days to the feast of the Passover and tensions are rising. The city is full of Roman soldiers ready to put down any sign of trouble. Jesus is no ‘trouble-maker’ but he could easily be seen to be one by those who would like to be rid of him and there were plenty of those about. So Jesus’ words to them were something of a reality check as once more they began the journey into the city and whatever awaited them today.
The day may have a familiar routine to us but we can easily be surprised by the unexpected happening, the thing we had never planned for, blowing us of course, upsetting the apple cart of our day. And however well prepared we may be, there is always that that will turn round and bite us when we least expect it. Yet, there is no option but to enter the city, to make the familiar journey into an unfamiliar day and to keep faith that in the expected and the unexpected God is with us.
The prayer of Dag Hammarskjöld is perhaps the easiest to read and the hardest to pray. Hammarskjöld was a Swedish diplomat, economist, and author. The second Secretary-General of the United Nations, he served from April 1953 until his death in a plane crash in September 1961. At the age of 47 years, 255 days, Hammarskjöld was the youngest Secretary-General. He is one of just three people to be awarded a posthumous Nobel Prize. The prayer from his book ‘Markings’ is the one below. Pray it if you have the courage to mean it today!
For all that has been — thanks. For all that will be — yes.