Season after Pentecost, 2023
"This. Is. Holy Week."
Somehow, the clock rolled over to midnight, and therefore Palm Sunday, with a particular solemnity. This is indeed Holy Week. With all this Lenten waiting/preparation stuff, Holy Week is here, ready or not.
Holy Week is transitional time: donkey to cross; darkness to light; death to life.
So, there my mind was, creating the voice of Johnny Gilbert, the announcer from the gameshow Jeopardy, announcing the beginning of this Holy Time.
"This. Is. Holy Week." (As in "This. Is . . . Jeoapardy." Maybe there should be an elipsis there. It's hard to know how to notate that phrase the way he says it. Regardless, there is no elipsis the way Gilbert says the Holy Week phrase in my head.)
The Jeopardy connection seemed kind of obscure. And then I thought, well, certainly humankind was in jeopardy before the salvific actions of Christ which begin with his triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
But there's more of a connection than that, I think.
Pilate, in his conversation with Jesus (recorded in John) asks simply, "what is truth?"
This metaphysical question seems sort of out of place. Pilate is just trying to figure out who Jesus is and whether or not he should really be put to death. (But there are certainly metaphysical issues involved there!)
Before this, Jesus says that he was sent "to testify to the truth." But Pilate doesn't ask about "the truth," he asks about "truth."
Pilate, however, never gets an answer to his question. At least not one that's recorded in scripture.
But when we read this conversation between Pilate and Jesus, we read it knowing the secret identity of Jesus. Bruce Wayne is Batman (and Batman is Episcopalian!); Jesus is God!
So, even though Pilate appears to be in the position of power, it's actually Jesus. The author of the Gospel of John has Jesus spell this out in no uncertain terms:
Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above"
So, taking this Jeopardy analogy a little too far, one can see Jesus behind the Podium . . .
JESUS: And the category for final Jeopardy is . . . [bleep!]
[category is pixelated out, as is the question]
[Jeopardy "thinking music" plays. Incidentally this music was composed by Merv Griffin, the creator of Jeopardy]
JESUS: Time's up. And let's start with Pilate. You're the only contestant. And your answer? "What is truth." Very clever. And your wager?
Well, it turns out that Pilate wagered that the crowd wouldn't want Jesus to be put to death. Ths Gospels seem to paint him as one who sort of figures out who Jesus is. But he was never really in control anyway. God was.
Pilate makes a sign that says Jesus is "King of the Jews" and when confronted about it says, "what I have written I have written."
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