Yesterday was, of course, Palm Sunday, so this is Holy Week.
I often wonder how normal people experience this week. I’ve been a pastor since I was a teenager, so my experience isn’t normal. I consider this the holiest, most spiritually serious week of the Christian year. Driving to work today, though, I realized that no one on the road beside me was thinking those thoughts.
This Lent has been a trying one in many ways. We have had friends who died, and friends who learned they were dying. There have been vocational changes and challenges. There have been deep and painful disappointments. You know the story … it’s Lent. It’s Life.
In the words of The Shawshank Redemption, we are left with only two choices: “Get busy living or get busy dying.” That is to say that our response to life’s challenges is either life-giving or life-taking. We can let the struggles of life make us bitter, depressed, anxious, and angry, or we can work our way through to hope.
During Holy Week, we are invited to be aware of, and present with, the struggles and sufferings of Jesus. Normal people will spend this week thinking only about Easter. For people of faith, though, the Lenten days of our lives, especially those Holy Week times, invite us to treat our struggles and challenges as if they are the holy process by which the Spirit helps us “get busy living.”
So, my request of you is, for just this one week, be with the pain and struggles that are yours. Remember how Jesus knew the disappointment of being misunderstood, misjudged, betrayed, abandoned, and ultimately tortured and executed, though he deserved none of it. May the suffering of Jesus bring healing grace to your suffering. As much as I hate it sometimes, Lent and Holy Week apparently are the only path to true resurrections.
Rev. Michael Piazza