I’m having a tricky time stepping into this week’s readings. (I’ve posted them at the bottom this week so you can find them there.) I’m finding that I am still sitting at the end of last week with the story of the wise and foolish bridesmaids, the waiting, the kairos moment of arrival.
In part, it’s natural. Last week’s text inevitably resonates with me because I’ve spent the past week in Germany for the wedding of a dear friend. He is a VST student and his new bride a wise and wonderful German woman he met on Iona. Family and friends came from around the world to be with them – from Canada, Scotland, Japan even. So our week has been full of preparations, of trimming of lamps and baking of cakes. And then celebration and joy.
It’s hard to step from there towards Palm Sunday.
It’s hard to keep reading, knowing that there are hard days ahead. Knowing that there will be betrayal and denial. There will be fear. And death so loud our ears will ring.
But the wise bridesmaids wait with eyes open. In Chapter 30, Leith Fisher teaches us that in Hebrew to be wise is to have one’s eyes open. These bridesmaids are to see that they might shed light on the arrival of the bridegroom.
At most weddings, we celebrate and bless and hope so many good things for the new couple, not really knowing what days are ahead. How can we? So we hear the promises and hope. But, as Christians, we are cast as Lenten bridesmaids, and it is a harder blessing. We do know what is coming. We already see the shadow of the cross. We see the spear and the nails. We know the joy of the coming of Christ into Jerusalem, and we see the tomb.
But we also see the table, and that, too, is a part of this week’s readings. Matthew 26: 17-30 describes the Passover meal that Jesus eats with his disciples and the simple, history-changing act of breaking the bread and sharing the cup. Simple actions which provide hope and sustenance throughout the long centuries since that Last Supper. Jesus says “My hour has come.” That kairos moment, even today.
Part of our seeing as wise bridesmaids is seeing that this story is larger than time. The bridegroom has come. The celebration that is the Kingdom of God is present among us. We see in part, and we know in glimpses, but because of the shadow of the cross, we know that we are already invited into the feast. The cross is the sign of love, not fear, and the feast is among us.
There will be joy.
– as cupcakes. Makes 15-20
150 ml natural yoghurt
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
140g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g ground almonds
175g unsalted butter, melted
Line your muffin tray with paper cases and preheat oven to 375°.
Mix yoghurt, eggs, and vanilla. Put the dry ingredients, plus a pinch of salt into a large bowl, and stir.
Pour in the yoghurt mixture and the melted butter, then quickly fold together. Be careful to be gentle and not to overwork it. Spoon mixture into cases and bake for 18-20 mins until golden, and springy to the touch. Cool for a couple of minutes in the pans, then gentle turn out onto a wire rack.
When they have cooled completely, you can decorate them. Here’s the icing recipe I used.
75g unsalted butter
175g white chocolate
250g icing sugar (though you might use more so have plenty on hand)
1 tbsp golden syrup
125ml sour cream or 120 ml mascarpone
1 tsp vanilla
Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler very slowly. White chocolate needs coddling so again be gentle. Cool. Sieve icing sugar into a bowl. Add golden syrup to cooled chocolate mixture, then stir in sour cream or mascarpone and vanilla. Whisk in sugar until it is thick enough for your liking. If it gets too thick, add a little boiled water.
Next week, we’ll be in the thick of the Easter story. There are palms ahead and praise, then lament and Holy Saturday’s shadow on the horizon. I’ll share a poem from Tisha McComb, Montreal poet and youth worker at Briarwood Presbyterian Church. If anyone has any extra Holy Week or Easter resources to share here, please get in touch via the comments section. Comments are received by me before being publicly posted on the blog so you can submit suggestions or ideas that way, if you like.
Here are this week’s readings from The Gospel of Matthew and Leith Fisher’s commentary, “But I Say to You.”
31. ‘When did we see you?’– Matthew 25:14-46
32: Enemies and Friends – Matthew 26: 1-6
33: ‘This is my Body’ – Matthew 26: 17-30
34: The Dark Night – Matthew 26: 31-75
35: Trials – Matthew 27: 1-26
36: The Cosmic Christ – Matthew 27: 27-56