Holy Week, Batman!

Well, it took until Wednesday in Holy Week for someone to wish me a Happy Easter. I appreciate the sentiment — I really do. I just don’t quite know how to respond. So I generally grit my teeth, put on a forced smile, and mutter “Almost!”

Not to be too much of a liturgical Pharisee, but it’s just difficult for me to think about  Easter greetings while writing my Good Friday sermon. And I realize this morning’s coffee shop salutation was genuine. The woman in question was wishing me a Happy Easter. But when you’re so invested in Holy Week, Easter seems light years away. Or at least a foot washing, a garden, a crucifixion, and five-services-in-between away.

Holy Week is a profound, emotionally rich journey. And walking with Jesus along this path each year takes energy and investment for everyone involved — those leading the services and those attending them. I have tremendous respect, admiration, and love for my parishioners who walk the entire journey. It’s takes great dedication, devotion, and commitment to do so. Heck, at one level I’m in awe of these folks — as much as I assume I’d be there right along with them (well, maybe not at all three Good Friday services), I’m paid to show up.

In my early days as a rector, I used to get annoyed that relatively few people took this journey. Partly because of the numbers thing but mostly because I wanted more folks to experience the power that comes through this journey of discipleship. I keep talking it up and continue to impress upon people that it’s impossible to know the full power of the resurrection without experiencing the agony of the cross. But I’ve also come to revel in the small band of pilgrims that travel through the last days of Christ’s life from the Upper Room to Gethsemane to Golgotha. Their faith inspires and informs my own. And I thank God that I am blessed to walk this particular leg of the Christian path with them.

And, of course, none of themwish me a Happy Easter until after the Easter Acclamation at the Great Vigil. The precise moment where it means, quite literally, everything in the world.


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