The season of Lent has seemed to pass very quickly for me this year. It seems like it was just yesterday when we gathered as a community amidst the snow and ice for Ash Wednesday. Now the days are warmer and longer, and our eyes are very much focused on the cross and on Holy Week, that sacred week in which we walk with Jesus to the cross.
On Ash Wednesday we were invited as a community to the observance of a holy Lent. One way in which we can complete the journey we began that day is by participating in the services during Holy Week. Being present at the services is of course important, but I encourage you to do even more. I encourage you to participate as fully as possible in each service. I encourage you to move outside your comfort zone. After all, this week is an uncomfortable one. Participate in the foot washing on Maundy Thursday. Come forward to venerate the cross on Good Friday. Watch with great joy as we celebrate a baptism and many confirmations and receptions during the Great Vigil of Easter.
I believe we miss something really profound when we miss these services. As I child, I attended on Palm Sunday when we triumphantly welcomed Jesus, and then I returned to church on Easter Day when we rejoiced at the empty tomb. I never realized it then, but the sense of joy and amazement at the empty tomb is completely lost without the knowledge of the dark moments that preceded it. The cross and our Lord’s passion must come before Christ’s glorious resurrection. So this is what I offer you: come and participate as fully as you can. Do your best to truly enter into each moment. Let go of your fears and discomfort (trust me, the first time I went to a Maundy Thursday service, I told myself I would never go and wash someone else’s feet in front of everyone; last year the foot washing was one of the most powerfully spiritual moments for me). I am convinced that walking fully through this week with Jesus will leave you with a profound sense of awe and wonder on Easter morning that you have not previously known. Blessings to us all as we travel through this most holy week.