Weeks ago we began our Lenten pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Hours into days, days into weeks we have journeyed through this season that witnesses winter turn to spring. Along the way many of us have lost some things and found some things. For some of us these days have brought reflection with times of solace. For some these days have blended one into the next. As we enter into this Holy Week left us be mindful of what this journey has brought us and taught us. May we be mindful that we aren't yet done. Our journey continues in these coming into Jerusalem days.
There is a great temptation to enter into this Holy Week with a feeling of tediousness and to have the urge to rush through to Easter Sunday morning. This week offers more to us than that. It asks nothing of us, but instead it welcomes us in. Welcomes us into days that unfold in a slow-paced then too-frantically moving time where our faith story is told.
In church yesterday we were still holding our palms when the choir stood at the back of the church singing, "Were You there?" My spirit felt as though she had lost her breath. These days hold our story in conversation and song, in waiting and and weeping. This week holds a time of silence when it appears (for each of us, for all of us) that life has gone out of our faith and there is nothing left. This week holds a sunrise when hope comes alive and lives again in us.
There is a tendency to phone this week in. Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt or the new shoes or new outfit already for Sunday morning. Our lives and these days are too complicated to phone anything in. Living in and through these day of refugees being shunned on almost every continent, of separations of families at our borders, of gun violence continuing to terrify us all, especially our children, of old folks being forgotten, of children being neglected, of politicians abusing power - in these days I know that I am desperate to hear again the stories of my faith. I, too can recite what we are told each year happened on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. But each year, this year there is something that can perhaps happen when we hear our faith-story. When we hear it again, as if for the first time: There is a Balm in Gilead, to make the wounded whole. There is a balm in Gilead, to heal the sin-sick soul. I'm not the same person I was last year or even when this Lenten journey began. We are living, transforming beings alive in this world that is ever-changing. We are wounded in new places, stronger in others. Not the same.
This is the week that forms us. These are the days that teach us of faith and hope and love. In the most raw and painful ways, we hear it. In the most affirming and reconciling ways, we sing it. In ways that hold us in time and in place. Just because you have lived through 10 or 20 or 30 or even 90 years of Holy Weeks, our deepest truth is found in our living it. Yesterday marked the jubilant welcome into Jerusalem when Jesus was hailed as King. Thursday will bring another chapter. As will Friday. As will Saturday. And when we live into Sunday we have the chance to see a sunrise, as if for the very first time.