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The High Priest, Peter & Pilate

As the layperson among the three up front on Palm Sunday reading The Passion according to St. Matthew, you get to be the 'evil trio': The High Priest, Peter and Pilate.  Oh Yay!  I remember a long time ago when I first read, and later chanted these parts, at different services at Grace.  There were nerves, plenty of emotion and lots of sweat!

First the High Priest of the Sanhedrin, challenging Christ and tearing his clothes as he accuses Jesus of blasphemy.  Then Peter, wanting to avoid the same judgment as Jesus and save his own skin, denies Christ three times before the cock crows.  Finally, the governor Pontius Pilate is handed Jesus to condemn him to death, but instead washes his hands, declaring others must see to it.

When Christ cried in a loud voice yielding up his spirit and I turned to the Cross and knelt, I felt the weight of that loss on my own back.  Christ has just died for you.  Christ has died for you

I call them the 'evil trio', but the fact of the matter is this story is incomplete without them.  They have a purpose.  They fulfill the scripture.  And today, when I felt the burden of Christ's death pressed upon me, knowing the promise that awaits us all next week, I heard Jesus say "take up your cross and follow me".