07 Apr Holy Week Blessings
April 7, 2020
On Sunday, with a service of palms and passion, we launched into Holy Week, the most sacred week in the Christian calendar. I’ll be honest—a)I don’t much feel like it is Holy Week, regardless of what the calendar says, and b)I felt we more “lurched” than “launched” into these most hallowed of days. I am missing my “peeps,” I am missing community and shared worship and hugs and seeing people eyeball-to-eyeball, and my “little gray cells,” as Hercule Poirot would say, are plum tuckered out with all this newfangled technology/live-streaming/zoom conferencing learning curve. Oh, and then there’s the little matter of a killer virus on the loose.
All of which is to say that I’ve arrived at the conclusion that regardless of how I feel, the calendar is spot-on, and we need to hear the story of Easter now more than ever.
Sunday was a beautiful day, so once the live-stream was over and my son had devoured half the loaf of beer bread I’d baked that morning to use in our first-ever virtual communion (two words I never thought would be used together), I headed outside. As has been the case for many folks, walking and being outdoors has saved my sanity over the past month. With so many trees and shrubs now beginning to bud, week by week my walks are becoming more colorful. Sunday afternoon I happened upon some branches full of white blossoms. While that was lovely in and of itself, when I looked closer, I realized I was witnessing a metaphor for the entire Easter event.
The tree that was producing these blossoms was lying brokenly across the ground. It had snapped jaggedly not far above its base and decay had continued to ravage its once erect posture. Yet from its lifeless deformity, something new was emerging. Death was giving way to life, brokenness was birthing beauty, decay was yielding to green new shoots.
Isn’t that a picture of our lives? We experience the pain of our brokenness and failures. Something “fells” us, seemingly with a fatal blow, yet from the heartache comes growth, a different perspective, and wisdom. Suffering yields new fruit—perseverance, patience, the capacity for greater empathy. It takes time and it doesn’t come without humility, but eventually we come to a dawning realization of what Jesus meant when he said, “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).
The tombs of our lives are never easy places to be. We seldom, if ever, choose to enter them. But we all find ourselves there at some point or other. The question is what we do from there. Do we shut ourselves in, arrogantly refusing to be moved, to learn anything new, to adjust our view of life, the world, God and ourselves? Or, are we anticipating resurrection, however long it might take to arrive? Perhaps that’s the word for us today: resurrection is coming. You don’t even have to go looking for it. Because Christ is alive and present and already working in our lives and in our world—yes, even in our new reality, novel coronavirus riddled world—resurrection will find you. I invite you to walk with Jesus this week into his suffering and death, that you might then experience new life with him also.
Holy Week blessings,