In my faith tradition it is Holy Week. The week between Palm Sunday and Easter with Maundy Thursday and Good Friday in between. The week traditionally begins with Palm Sunday and includes palm fronds, small children singing (except this year it didn’t)and a lot of songs with the word Hosannah. It moves forward trying to pull me away from my distractions with a service commemorating the last supper on Maundy or Holy Thursday and is successful in attaining my complete attention on Good Friday, as I sit, without distractions, at a service in a church stripped of all the extras of a normal time of worship. An opportunity to remember incomparable love and sacrifice.
Holy Week is a chance to put on different glasses and look at the bigger picture, the view from above. The view that some day all of ‘this’ will make sense, wrong will be made right, tears will turn to laughter, and sorrow to joy. Holy Week is a time where I am invited to focus, not on my narrative and story, but on God’s story. A story of mercy and grace, where good triumphs over evil. It is a reminder that in the palm of God’s hand I am fully alive and completely safe despite what the picture below, the here and now, looks like.
Even signs around me point to a view from above. Blossoming trees, first flowers, plants with beginning buds all shout out that there is a bigger picture taking place, a picture that moves nature and humanity from death to life. Into this Holy Week came an NPR segment called “Beyond Bunnies: The Real Meaning of Easter Season” a short interview by Michele Norris with Annie Lamott. Asked what this season meant to her she replied:
“Well, it’s the most profound holiday in the Christian tradition,” Lamott says. “And I think two things really come to mind. One is something that the great writer Barbara Johnson said, which is that we are Easter people living in a Good Friday world. And I think that every year the world seems more of a Good Friday world. And it’s excruciating, whether it’s Japan, or Libya, or whether its your own best friends and their children who are sick, which is something that makes no sense when you think about a loving God. But it’s a time when we get to remember that all the stuff that we think makes us of such value, all the time we spend burnishing our surfaces, is really not what God sees…” Annie Lamott, NPR – April 18, All Things Considered
And that’s it – All this stuff “is really not what God sees”. I’m not great at living this out on a daily basis, but during Holy Week I am fully reminded that now I may see a blurry image without focus and clarity, but some day, I’ll see “face to face. ”