Do you ever find yourself remembering, humming, or singing a refrain non-stop? The past few days I keep hearing “He has covered himself in glory.” It’s from Exodus 15, the responsorial psalm after the required Exodus reading from the Easter Vigil. Referring to the Israelites’ triumph over the Egyptians who drowned in the Red Sea, it seems an incongruous phrase in the midst of Holy Week. Yet Holy Week is a mix of glory and shame, life and death, victory and defeat. Rituals and readings take us up and down, down and up.
Down, down, down. That is the direction of Jesus Christ. It becomes the direction of his followers, too. The Second Person of the Trinity gave up all recognition to his divinity to become incarnate—a mere human. And all through his life, his direction was down. Born in a stable, living as a carpenter, suffering all manner of mental and physical abuse, equated with Satan, sweating blood in agony, betrayed, killed as a criminal. “Because of this, God greatly exalted him, and bestowed on him the name which is above every name.” The Letter to the Philippians states that “every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” For over thirty years Jesus covered up his glory. In his resurrection, the down became up. In his resurrection “He has covered himself in glory.”
Followers, be courageous in the multiple downward moments of life. Down is always the way up.