A Few Thoughts on Holy Week
Today begins a kind of marathon church session for some of us, with Maundy Thursday services tonight, Good Friday tomorrow evening, the Easter Vigil Saturday night at 10, and then Sunday morning Easter services. All offer moments for reflection, prayers, grief and ultimately joy. It is a kind of a roller coaster. Sort of like life, only really compressed. I do love Holy Week because it is so dramatic, old fashioned, and historic. Kind of like Christianity 101. Tonight the priest (ours is a woman) will wash our feet, just like Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, (including Mary Magdalen who washed his feet first) to show that the new master is also a servant, and we are all equal in God's eyes. Tomorrow we will hear the communion words about breaking bread and sharing wine with new ears. Saturday's service begins with the beginning-- with readings from Genesis, and marches right up to the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Sunday morning is raucous with all those same trilling hymns my grandparents and great-grandparents sang and the children hopped up on candy. Easter is where the rubber meets the road for Christians. The whole story is so powerful, and so inspiring, that you'd think we would have learned the lessons by now. I mean, we have been re-enacting it in one way or another for about 2,000 years and still haven't quite embraced the main theme. Just this week, in Anchorage citizens voted against a proposition protecting gays and lesbians. The golf club that hosts the Masters won't allow women to join. And think of the family of that boy shot in Florida. How will they celebrate Easter? Other lessons we learned in Sunday school are being ignored too-- where is the stewardship of the earth in all this talk about finding more fuel so we can burn it and broil the planet? And what about the effort and money our country is putting into wars? All the while the politicians try to one up each other with their Christian faith. This is giving churchgoers a bad name. So where is the good in that? Well, at least this week there will be many people praying, all over the world, for peace, for love, and for understanding. When we leave church Sunday morning I hope that perhaps this time, we will listen closer to the words of Jesus, and have the courage of our convictions, and trust that someday we may be able to love one another even half as much as he loves us. At the very least, maybe we can say or do something nice to someone we think we don't like very much. I should be able to manage that, right? How hard can it be?