Holy Week Day 3 (2 of 3)
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
I think it’s quite possible that the Collect of the Day for Wednesday in Holy Week is among the most grisly of all collects in the Prayer Book. “Our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his face to be spit upon…”
Have you ever had someone spit on you? Have you ever seen someone spit on another person? It’s dirty, dirty stuff. There are few ways that you can express your displeasure for another human being more than by spitting on them.
The Collect evokes the fact that one way that Holy Week has long been observed is through things like “passion plays” that magnify the grisly nature of our Lord’s passion. And there are aspects of that tradition that are questionable, particularly some of the anti-Semitic aspects that arose over time, but at the same time I think it’s good occasionally to look a little carefully at Christ’s passion, at Christ’s suffering.
Today in the life of the church, today this Wednesday in Holy Week, actually has another name. Some of you may have seen me post about it on Facebook a bit earlier. Spy Wednesday. Have you ever heard this? It’s called Spy Wednesday because the traditional reading for today is the reading of the betrayal of Jesus by Judas. Right? That’s what we just heard in the Gospel narrative for today, as Judas betrayed Jesus. So we call this Spy Wednesday.
It’s kind of a helpful playful name to have in the middle of Holy Week.