Holy Week has always been a bit of a mystery to me. Purple. Thorns. Blood. Sins. Covered crosses, Presto-chango revealed crosses. Glum faces as if they are hearing the story for the first time and there has been no spoiler alert. (In the end Jesus is just fine and all.) And then there is the food. Guilt-ridden chocolate bars and ice-cream sundays.
I like the drama much the way I like Dickens on a rainy afternoon…atmospheric…the permission to slow down…a reminder of what is what and that life can be hard and that God wants to be with us in our suffering. But since liturgy has always confused me, I guess Holy Week is a mass of confusion. Pun intended.
It just does not seem to square with the whole John 15:15 “Jesus is our friend and calls us friends.” I mean, make up your mind why dontcha. Are we friends or are we miserable sinners? Both, I can hear people saying (willfully obtuse to the reality; but nothing if not pious.)
I am ready for Holy Week. Tonight is its First Evensong so a friend and I are about to sit for tea with almond chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven. I have scotch and some good cheeses so the week will go quite well. My discipline will be to spend the week considering the year’s mistakes and wondering how I cannot make them again. Or less of them, I guess. I’ve not been to church in two years, so no need to break the record now. So I bought a pass at the botanical gardens and Easter Day I’ll spend time there. I’ll also spend time this week with A. A. Milne – Christopher Robin is so wise and Pooh is so kind.
Bright, sunlit gardens feel to me a better place to pass Holy Week than churches. At least for me. At least for now. Death is there in the gardens in compost piles…a good icon. Life is there in spring green…another good icon. And then of course there is the natural creation which God has given to us on this spinning marble. I’ll remember the passion story without needing for the 45th year to be dragged through it like a prisoner tied to the back of a wagon bumping along dirt and stones.
After years as the recipient of ecclesial bullying I need this time alone. To heal. To hear God say absolutely nothing while we sit alone with each other. Did Jesus come to save us from sin and hell? No. Preposterous. Jesus came to be with us and to draw the cosmos (not Christians) into the awareness that God is the room and the cosmos is the balloon floating around in the room. How can a planet of being be “saved” when we exist within God?
If the resurrection tells us anything at all it is that Jesus’ best work was done alone and in silence.
I have a house where I go
When there’s too many people,
I have a house where I go
Where no one can be;
I have a house where I go,
Where nobody ever says “No”;
Where no one says anything- so
There is no one but me.
A. A. Milne