We do not honor our love in Lent. Our love is fickle, it is wavering, it is unsteady. Our love is weak, even when turned toward those closest to us, but especially when it is turned toward God. Holy Week isn’t about the love of the people for Christ, because their love failed, and the crowds turned against our Lord. This dramatic shift, this failure of human love, is described in the third stanza of our hymn this week, “My Song is Love Unknown.”
“Sometimes they strew His way and His sweet praises sing; resounding all the day hosannas to their King. Then ‘Crucify!’ is all their breath, and for His death they thirst and cry.” Jerusalem rejoiced to receive her King on Palm Sunday. Jesus even said, “I tell you, if these [people] were silent, the very stones would cry out.” The cries of ‘Hosanna’ rose up to Jesus, cloaks and palm branches covered His path. The people showed Jesus glory, honor, and love. But by Friday that all had changed. The cry was no longer ‘Hosanna!’ but ‘Crucify!’ Man’s love had faltered and failed. The crowds who once had adored Him now cried out for His death.
We do not honor our love in Lent, for we too are like the crowds of Jerusalem. Our love for Christ falters and fails. On some days we cry out ‘Hosanna!’ praising our King for all that He has done for us. On others, we are like the mob on Good Friday, rejecting Christ through our words and actions. Our love is completely corrupted by the sin that fills all of our members. Lent isn’t about our love for Christ, but His love for us. Even you and I, who have love that is so weak, so faltering, so unsteady, are shown love by Jesus, the love that led Him to the cross. His love is shown, as the first stanza declared, to the “loveless that they might lovely be.”