Holy week always makes me feel like I am part of that old novelty act on the Ed Sullivan Show. You may remember the guy—in my memory, he was on every week—who balanced china plates on top of a spinning pole? He would get each one going, and then run back and forth along the line of plates trying to keep them from wobbling and crashing to the floor. The orchestra played the “Sabre Dance” by Aram Khachaturian during his act, and I can never hear that piece without having my heart race as I mentally dash from plate to plate to keep them from falling.
So many moving pieces, small details to get lined up, and then making sure everyone else knows what we are doing, and when. It is all worth it, though. Once everything comes together, it is simply the most wonderful week in the church year, as we retell our story together. It is THE story of our faith, just as the Passover is THE story for the Jews. There is a wonderful Jewish understanding of retelling the story. It has to do with re-membering. Each year, when the pascal meal is eaten, the story of the Exodus is told, not as something that happened to other people in the distant past, but a story that is re-lived, re-embodied as family and community. Through the darkest moments of life, the most tenuous of situations, the gathered community lives the story by sharing it together.
No wonder Jesus chose this night to provide us with the central sacrament of our Christian faith—the Last Supper. It was in the midst of this joyous, serious, messy moment of life, that Jesus shared this intimate mandate (Maundy Thursday comes from this word) that has had profound implications as we…do this in remembrance of me.
It can be a challenge in this busy and stressful world to slow our rhythm to the rhythm of this week’s story. It is slow and fast. Joyous and devastating. Hopeful and crushing. And just as it was all these things to the early church, so it is for us as well. We live in similar times. We struggle with the same concerns as did our early forbearers.
At the very center of this week is something so small, we may not even notice it. It is the seed of God’s intention. No matter the content of the present moment, the distress all around us, the darkness that seems to be more powerful than the light—Resurrection will come.
Whether you are able to be with us in person over the next few days, or are walking the path from afar, we are God’s people in this place. And together, we prepare mind and heart for the absolutely unexpected, surprising notion that God’s love wins.
Blessings on this holy moment. Pastor Nancy