“And Jesus was a sailor when he walked upon the water…forsaken, almost human, he sank beneath your wisdom like a stone.” – Leonard Cohen, “Suzanne”
It’s not too hard to lose track of Jesus during Holy Week. Our Sundays are scheduled such that the parade of Palm Sunday is followed up with Easter celebration. In between is….a remarkably large portion of the written material in our four gospels that slows down to an almost real time account of Jesus’ last days. It’s really too much to take in in just a week, or just one additional service like Good Friday.
But each part of the drama of Holy Week is an invitation to pay attention throughout the whole year.
Jesus’ clearing of the temple challenges our comfortable relationship with powerful institutions.
The last supper is an invitation to treat every meal as a blessed occasion, a gathering of companions made one in the sharing of bread and cup.
Jesus’ plea with the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane is an ever-present call to stay present and alert.
The trial of Jesus before the religious and political authorities has something to say even now to George Floyd’s murder trial and the religious and political voices weighing in.
The crucifixion of Jesus asks us to see God in solidarity with all suffering.
This past year has perhaps felt like one extended Holy Week, although I’m not advocating we call it Holy Year. I do sense an extra anticipation for Easter. Rather than just a linear progression beyond the trials that preceded it, resurrection comes to us as the next concentric circle outward. It contains all the hardships and grief within a wider embrace of life over death, community over isolation, love over fear.
When Easter does finally arrive, it will be not a negation of the past year, but a wide embrace of it, wide enough to provide plenty of room for new life, even joy.