“Jesus’ face was set towards Jerusalem.”
What does that look like? Do his eyes take on a visible resolve? Does his smile become strained? How do the Samaritans, who only see his messengers, know to be wary of this wandering prophet and his path? How do they know to reject him?
They reject him not because of where he is from but because of where he is going. To Jerusalem. To be betrayed, denied, rejected, and killed. To engage the powers of his day and their cycle of violence. To show James and John how heavenly fire is not his holy way.
Rejected, Jesus lives what he has so recently preached to the disciples. He shakes the dust off his feet and moves on to another village. He continues to Jerusalem.
Village by village he goes.
Goes and commands peace to the spectres of violence.
Goes and proclaims release to those held captive by the forces of sin.
Goes and offers healing love in word and deed.
Goes and lives the Way, knowing what it will cost him.
In the prayers and rituals of Ash Wednesday, we who would follow the Way, who would live in the Truth, and would discover the Life, join with Jesus on this journey. We resolve to follow our Lord as he teaches and heals, as he is rejected and denied. We strive to resist the temptation to reject this hard path, the yearning for holy fire rather than the holy way. With ashes on our forehead, we turn to the cross.
We set our faces toward Jerusalem.
Amy Fetterman is a Virginia-based transitional pastor in the PC(USA) and co-author of Who’s Got Time: Spirituality for a Busy Generation from Chalice Press.
©2017 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group. This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.