Lent liturgical seasons

For Holy Week

Throughout this week,
the week we call “Holy Week,”
we will recall
and in a small way –
enter into –
the stories
of the final week
of Jesus’ earthly life.

While the week begins
with a parade,
bursting with hope,
soon things will change.
The tables will turn.
Jesus’ teachings will agitate leaders.
Her anointing of him will appall observers.
The meal Jesus and his friends share will be the last.
Jesus’ prayers in the garden will be interrupted.
His trial will be unfair, his crucifixion unjust.
The curtain in the temple will be torn,
because of
God’s grief,
God’s rending of garments,
God’s lamenting,
at the atrocity of it all.

And we will lament too…
with words,
with tears,
with groans and
with mouths agape….
that it had to be this way.

There is no way to
put this week in a box,
cover it in paper
to make it beautiful
tie it up with a tidy bow
so that we can just enjoy Easter
without walking through the rest of it.

What is Easter,
without the rest of it?
We cannot celebrate
without first
lamenting, grieving, waiting.
Even though we know the story,
we cannot skip to the end,
as a means of avoiding
walking through and working through
the messy, painful middle.

And so we lament.
We remember.
We open our hearts
and we ask God
to do something
deep within us…
to transform us
and make us new
because
if we come to next week
the same as we are now,
what was it all for?

Many thanks to Professor Amy-Jill Levine for her book Entering the Passion of Jesus: A Beginner’s Guide to Holy Week. This Lenten season, our congregation read the book and it shaped our worship and study. Her perspective and insight informed my own reflection during this season.

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