It leaves me almost breathless as I read the service schedule for any particular church during Holy Week. How much invisible preparation, how many sleepless nights, how much intensive choreography goes on to make it all happen? Amidst the assumption by many if not all that it will happen (whatever the “it” might be). And I then think of the many ways different people respond to the week’s journey; as they reflect and engage in open or hidden ways to the depth and challenges of this gloriously moving week-long service.
It occurred to me as I was driving last night that the Holy Week journey is not unlike many journeys we make throughout the year. In our relationships with each other, in relation to our health and in all our endeavours we travel in hope and trust, outcomes uncertain and seemingly all too often ending in pain, but often ending in joy and happiness.
And it also occurred to me, sea sparkling on my left as the countryside sped past me, that for me last autumn and winter often felt like the darkest part of the journey during Holy Week. Change often makes us feel vulnerable, as if we are stumbling in the darkness. Now that the change forms part of the norm, I am able to remember how to think about breathing again, as the world in springtime around me awakens amidst new life bursting in on my senses.
And as I brace myself in anticipation of surrendering the reigns of daily work life, soon no longer leading or serving those around me, I wonder how I will react after it is done. More stumbling through the darkness, perhaps, as we are taught that serving is well pleasing to God. Possibly, but as I look to the hard journey of Holy Week I can remember the hope and joy to come. And that the protective wing of our Creator can nestle protectively around us, that safe haven of love and calm, where we are given permission to be able to stop and stare in silent wonder at the beauty of God’s world.
All too often I have been like either the driver or sometimes passenger in a car- eyes either straight ahead or burrowed into the map; either way missing the world as I speed along. This autumn and winter was somehow different as I followed the crowd along the bumpy road into Jerusalem, unknowing, uncertain, but drawn by a power that was as real as it was invisible. Somehow, a large part of me already knows that I have already sat for many hours, days, weeks, months, years in silent vigil, waiting for Jesus; my heart bursting with love, knowing that I have heard the rustle of feathers around my body as God’s protective angels surround me, giving me permission to step out of the darkest corners of my life, enabling me to see, to breathe, to live as if for the first time.
And I thank God for that, as I am filled with hope and joy even before this week’s intensive and gloriously challenging journey has begun.