Seeking Christ’s Radical Gentleness: Sparrowfare Selections for Holy Week

“Our ravaged world cries out for hands that bear a radical gentleness.”

You don’t often read a heart-stopping line in an Instagram post, but Sarah Clarkson (@sarahwanders) has a way of matching a golden heart with golden words, and her post spoke to the longing in my heart this morning.

One of my neighbors hung a Ukranian flag in her yard and I see it whenever I leave my house. Her home country has been reduced to rubble and she hasn’t heard from her family in weeks.

Our ravaged world cries out for hands that bear a radical gentleness.

Jesus is radical gentleness, and we long for the touch of his wounded hands. Holy Week renews that encounter, and there’s no better offer in this ravaged world than to walk the road from rejection to resurrection with him.

These Sparrowfare selections are offered in hope that your Holy Week will become a place of encounter with the radical gentleness of Christ. May all our moments be transformed by his presence.

A Holy Week Playlist: Music for Meditating on the Death that Changed the World

“This is it!” I once heard a priest, robed in red, proclaim on Palm Sunday. “This week is the center of our faith.” And so it is. This is the week to ponder the meaning of the Christ, the Cross, the Death that changed the world. “Long before [Matthew] Arnold’s sea of faith began its withdrawal and long before Nietzche [proclaimed God is dead,]” observes Richard John Neuhaus in Death on a Friday Afternoon, “Christians contemplated that God has died.” Read more…

Bruce Cockburn’s The Whole Night Sky: A Holy Week Interpretation

Every Holy Week, when the Palm Sunday readings take us from the crowd’s adulation at Christ’s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem to their cries to crucify him only days later, the lyrics of a Bruce Cockburn song from The Charity of Night rise in my mind. They turned their backs/
I made it too hard/Every place they touched me/Is a laceration now
. I think of those worshipful cries, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” turning to daggers of rejection when the true cost of loyalty (“if they hated me they will hate you“) is revealed. Read more…

Human Praise: The Tempered View of Christ

Very early in John’s gospel, just after the wedding at Cana and the first cleansing of the temple, we read that “many believed in [Christ] when they saw the signs that he was doing.” Those must have been exhilarating days for the disciples who first left everything they had to follow him. Numbers seem to validate a project; crowds, reviews and “likes” validate a person. Read more…

Brother: A Song for Holy Thursday’s New Commandment

This evening marks a beautiful night: the night Christ gave us a new commandment, that we love one another. The night he stripped off his outer garment, knelt and washed his friends’ feet, telling them they must do likewise, serving one another. The night he took bread and wine and said, “This is my body, broken for you. This is my blood: the blood of the new and everlasting covenant.” This evening we mark a terrifying night: the night Christ was betrayed. Read more…

Christ’s Naked Humility vs. All Our Cloaks and Crowns

When Jesus looked at lilies, he saw beauties fit for contemplation. “They don’t toil or spin,” he pointed out, “but even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed as one of these.” One greater than Solomon had spoken. From eternity, he was “clothed in light as with a garment,” yet the Virgin’s fiat gave Him human flesh. His first earthly garments here were swaddling bands sheltering a perfect newborn skin. Read more…

Thanks for reading and sharing Sparrowfare. May you be blessed with Christ’s radical gentleness this holy season.

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Even though I love the convenience of the Hallow app for tracking my progress with Fr. Mike Schmitz’ Bible in a Year Podcast, I’ll be catching up for quite some time. But I do love Father Mike’s insights into the scriptures! So I’m jumping back in to Bible in a Year this week as Fr. Mike takes us through John’s Gospel. Now is a perfect time to check out this chart-topping podcast recently highlighted on CBS Minnesota.

Sarah Clarkson, whose Instagram post set me thinking about radical gentleness, gathers a treasury of beauty in her blog post Holy Week in Art and Image, Story and Song. Her deep interaction with literature, movies, art and music makes Sarah the perfect curator for this week. And if you’re wondering about the goodness of God in the midst of this world’s ravages, her book This Beautiful Truth: How God’s Beauty Breaks into Our Darkness has the ring of truth. Her own battle with OCD makes Sarah’s insights worth their weight in gold.

Photo by Ante Gudelj on Unsplash.