Holy Week: The aid station late in the semester
At a time that seems now like years ago, but was probably just the beginning of the semester, we who plan and lead worship at the Chapel looked at the calendar and were amazed by how late Easter is this year. It’s nearly as late as it can be. (Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon in a Northern Hemisphere spring so the latest possible date is April 25. We’re missing that by just four days!) It felt, to me, like we’d be waiting forever.
Now the time is here! Holy Week starts with Palm Sunday this Sunday.
Lots of other stuff is here too. There are papers to write (and read and grade), exams to design, take and grade. Conferences and job applications and other plans for the summer to think and stress out about.
Just before beginning this writing assignment, I reworked my checklist for the week, taking it from “desired but impossible” to “necessary and challenging.”
“April is a marathon,” said someone in my hearing just recently. It was an expression of resignation.
“Marathon.” Twenty-six point two miles of grueling work. They say that it killed the guy who ran the first one.
I know that there are passionate long-distance runners among us, but for the rest of us, this sounds like something best to be avoided. And yet, there is no getting out of it. April has begun. The marathon has been joined.
The temptation for many of us will be to see Holy Week and its calls to worship as an intrusion upon all that needs to be done. After all, it’s not always this late in the semester. We usually have more time, or different time, or something that doesn’t feel like this harried pace. It might feel like the best course of action, the best use of time is to keep running right through it all.
On the other hand, Holy Week and its invitations of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil, and Easter Sunday along with the opportunity of this year’s “Were you there?” narratives, offer, not an intrusion, but a refocusing respite and time of renewal.
Along the marathon course, volunteers stand with energy drinks at the ready. Experienced runners know to drink before they feel thirsty or risk dehydration.
Perhaps in light of your deadlines, you’ll have to make adjustments this year. If you’re a student, you might decide to stay on campus over the Easter weekend because you know you won’t get any writing done if you go home. Each of us needs to plan our work and work our plan.
I encourage you to work worship into it. Not because it’s something you owe God (we owe God more) or because it makes you a better person (it might), but because the rhythm of Christ’s dying and rising empowers every day of a Christian’s life. It is the reality in which we ground our value as a people bought with a price. It is Christ’s victory over all-that-threatens-to-destroy that makes our daily work – all of the creative things with which we fill our calendars – have any lasting value.
My plan for this year is to take the time, from the beginning of worship on Thursday night to the end of the service on Easter Sunday, and set it apart. Yes, there might be some quiet reading. I’ll probably need to do laundry and I’ll spend part of that time thinking through a sermon for Easter Sunday, but I’ll not be scurrying about, from one thing to another in an effort to get all of the boxes on my list checked. It will, instead, be time for rest and resurrection.
April 10, 2019
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- Archives of Devotional Writings from our Pastoral Staff
- “Some Lent!”
- (Your vocation here) of people
- A Point of Privilege
- A season of anticipation
- Advent = Hope
- All will be well
- Are we willing to cross the road for one another?
- Better Together
- Can we learn to be happy?
- Carrying the COVID Cross
- Come and See
- Did Jesus really suffer?
- Doing without in a life of plenty
- Don’t miss this moment
- Exiles with Vision
- Fear not!
- Feeling at Home
- Finding Purpose in the Journey
- Finding Words for Times Like These
- Forgiving others – and ourselves
- Getting ahead with Jesus
- Getting down on Jesus’ level
- Have yourself a merry little Christmas — somehow
- Holy Week and Taking Out the Trash
- Holy Week: The aid station late in the semester
- Hopes & Dreams vs Life in the Wilderness
- How glad we’ll be if it’s so
- I almost slipped
- In a time of uncertainty, these things are certain
- In praise of plans B … C … D …
- In Praise of Skeptical Disciples
- In the midst of grief, God will bring life
- Is there such a thing as being too forgiving?
- It’s a Three Day Weekend!
- It’s In the Bag
- It’s What’s Happening
- Killing off our future selves
- Lessons in fire building
- Let us work for real wellness in our communities
- Life Is a Highway
- Lilies and leaves and whatever else is beautiful
- Living in the Present
- O Lord, you know I hate buttermilk
- Of Fear and Failure
- On Christian Unity: When we’re not one big happy church
- On the Bucket List
- Pray and Let God Worry
- Preparing for the world to be turned rightside up
- Recovering from an Epic Fail
- Reformation calls for examination
- Remembering among the forgetful
- Seeing beauty in brokenness
- Signs of Love
- Starting Small
- Still in the storm
- Taking a Break from the Relentless
- Talking ourselves into it
- Thankfulness leads to joyfulness
- The Art of Holy Week
- The Funny Business of Forgiveness
- The Greatest of These is Love
- The Magi: Exemplars of Faith and Learning
- The Power of Small Conversations
- The Power of Taking a Sabbath
- The Spiritual Gift of Hindsight
- This can’t be done alone
- To be known
- You will be in our prayers this summer of 2020
- Ventures of which we cannot see the ending
- We had hoped
- What do you do with your anger?
- What is your base reality?
- What to do after you find your voice
- What to do on the day after
- What we know and what we don’t know
- When bad things happen
- When joy and sadness live together
- When the promise of resurrection is hard to believe
- When you offer up your broken cup
- Where God will be found
- Where is the good shepherd carrying you?
- Wilderness Journeys
- Year-end time management: Keeping the main thing the main thing
- Your Valpo roots will help you grow into your future