Retired pastor John E. Harnish reflects on what it means to ride with Jesus again through the painful yet glorious moments of Holy Week and Easter.
JOHN E. HARNISH
Retired Pastor, Michigan Conference
Last month, my wife, Judy, and I were back in Nashville, TN, for a couple of days. It’s a city we loved and left 20 years ago, a city that is in my prayers in these difficult days following a school shooting that took the life of three children and three adults.
One morning, I booked an Uber ride to meet some of my former colleagues from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) at Pancake Pantry, that great Nashville tradition. I was a bit surprised when Uber told me, “Your driver is Jesus.” “Well,” I thought, “that’s reassuring!”
After he delivered me to the restaurant, the follow-up message popped up on my phone, “You rode with Jesus.” My driver was Hispanic and likely used a Spanish pronunciation for his name, but the Uber message stuck with me as a reflection on Holy Week.
This past week, we rode with Jesus.
Once again, we took that familiar ride from the crest of the Mount of Olives down the narrow footpath and across the Kidron Valley up to the gates of the city. Once again, we paused as Jesus wept, saying, “Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace.” I’m sure he cries and offers the same prayer for Nashville today. Once again, we shouted the words of longing, “Hosanna! Save us now!”
We rode with Jesus as he challenged the religious and economic realities of his day in the temple and confronted the political powers. We rode with him to a farewell dinner in the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, then another last meal in an upper room before going through the agony of the Garden of Gethsemane and the pain of the cross. The ride went all the way down to death until, as the creed says, “he descended into hell.”
But thanks be to God, the ride didn’t end there.
With the dawn, the journey broke out of the tomb into a new day, and now we ride with the risen Christ into the promise of new life. Now we soar!
“Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!”
I don’t know about you, but I think I’ll keep riding with Jesus . . . ’til that great gettin’ up morning.
Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed!
Last Updated on April 12, 2023