All of Holy Week will be different this year.
We won’t wash feet. We won’t eat bread together or share the same cup. And we won’t gather in the dark to kindle a new fire and light the Paschal Candle.
Holy Week and Easter will not happen in the church this year like they have in previous years.
But the truth is they never did happen in the church.
They always happen in the circumstances of our lives. And this year that’s especially important to remember and hang on to.
This year the pandemic is our Holy Week. It will also be the place from which new life arises. This year the gifts, grace, love, and power of Holy Week and Easter come to us, not in spite of the pandemic, but through it.
We are in turmoil as was the city of Jerusalem in the time of Jesus. What are we to do? Who should we listen to? What action should we take? Where do we look for direction? How can we move beyond all of this?
Remember: Openness to life is the call of Jesus in each of our lives and that is what the gospel is about. “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” It’s why there are so many stories of Jesus healing the blind and deaf. Jesus is opening eyes and ears to the promise, to the future, to the coming of life and life abundant. It’s why, so many times, Jesus tells us to stay awake, to be watchful, and to not fall asleep. He’s telling us to stay open to our future, to our coming life.
Jerusalem has killed the prophets, the ones who were calling it into a future. It has stoned those sent to bring it life, life to the fullest. And now we stand in silence, in awe of the mystery of our salvation as we remember:
This is the One God sent because God “so loved the world.”
This is the One who promises, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”
This is the One who says, “Come to me, all you that are weary and carrying burdens, and I will give you rest.”
This is the One who says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.”
This is the One who says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”
This is the One who says, “I am the good shepherd.”
This is the One“who calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”
This is the One who says, “I am the light of the world.”
This is the One who says, “I am the resurrection and the life.”
This is the One who comes that we “may have life, and have it abundantly.”
This is the One who is “making all things new.”
This is the One who embodies God’s promise, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”
This is the One who says, “Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
I hope you hear the echoes of Easter in the list of who this One is because I’m going to ask you to do something. I want you to look around at everything that is happeing. I want you to look at what is happening within yourself. I want you to pay attention and take it all in. It will be difficult and painful; Holy Week always is.
Whatever your Holy Week is – whatever it brings you, takes from you, or asks of you – it already resounds with the echoes of Easter. That’s always the tension in Holy Week. It’s the tension in our lives. And it was the tension in Jesus’ life.
So keep awake and be ready. Do not for one minute close your eyes or turn away from your Holy Week, because this One who enters the turmoil of Jerusalem, this “One who comes in the name of the Lord” – this is the One who will rise to new life on the third day.
***And he plans on taking you with him.***