Faith from the Edges

Faith and life from the perspective of me.

Archive for the tag “holy week”

How to make sense of it all……

This week has been pretty rough here in Canada. There is a lot of bad news going on. It has been a rough week in other parts of the world as well. A dear friend of mine from Regina, put this up as her Facebook status recently:

Sometimes I think we live in a world gone mad! Schoolgirls abducted in Nigeria to face God knows what horrors – five innocent students stabbed to death in Calgary for no apparent reason – and on and on. Sometimes I wonder if it would be easier to live life in a vacuum oblivious of what is happening all around us – even in our little city of Regina. But life comes with its horrors along with its joys.

The question that has been rattling around in my head the last couple of days is how to make sense of it all. Where is God when homes are getting flooded in Quebec? Where is God when a young man for unknown reasons at this point kills 5 other young people in Calgary? Where is God when a 15 year old boy stabs random people in a mall in Regina? Where is God when a woman is beaten again by her partner? Where is God when another family is forced to leave their home because of the violence in Syria, South Sudan, Ukraine? Where is God when a child, an adult, is sexually assaulted by someone they know and trust? Where is God when communities are wracked by generational violence? Where is God?

Then I remember that we are in the midst of Holy Week. The most emotional, violent, horrifying, upsetting, crucifying week of the Christian year. A week where Jesus’ friends thought the world they were living in had gone mad. They arrested Jesus! They beat Jesus! They made Jesus carry his own cross! They crucified Jesus! Where is God? Where is God?

Crucifixion

The answer is, at least for me, is that God is in the midst of all that messy, ugly violence that can overwhelm us. That God in Jesus hung on that cross, for us, because of us, with us. That God is with us, no matter what, no matter how badly we screw up, not matter what, no matter how much we hate, no matter what, God is with us.

Tonight begins the great Triduum. I along with Christians around the world will be remembering, watching, praying the acts of Jesus. We will be singing, lamenting, confessing and making our way to reconciliation. We will ask ourselves where is God and we will find God in the midst of us, in the breaking of bread and drinking of wine, in the betrayals and denials, in our world gone mad. This is how we will make sense of it all. Just this. It will be enough. It will be Grace.

 

 

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Good Friday

Good Friday

Good Friday – a day of sorrow, a day of grief, a day for opening up my soul to this story.

I feel like I have been living Good Friday for a long time. I know though that I haven’t been alone in this. I think that is the difference for me, I knew I had others praying for me, even when I couldn’t pray. Today I will go to church for Good Friday, for the first time in 3 years. I just couldn’t go before, I couldn’t walk in that grief and have my tears misinterpreted. This year, I will go and be part of a community that has welcomed the dear one and I. It will be a Good Friday with a difference, for this year I can see the light in the distance.

Today I will sit and remember the sorrow. Today I will give thanks for those who have walked with me through my own Good Friday. Today I will remember Jesus and his gift. Today I will pray and wait for the light.

Maundy Thursday

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It is the end of this day and I am so thankful to have gone through this day. It has been a day full of joy, tears, community, communion, worship, music, laughter, food and life. It has been a day in the life of this Christian. I have been pushed to think once again about my vocation and what is coming next for me. At the moment I don’t know what God is calling me to do but it is something. My emotions are getting stirred up and that usually happens when there is something important for me to be paying attention to.

When I started thinking about this blog posting yesterday, I had no idea what this day was going to bring. I am thankful now that I have waited until the end of this day to write about Maundy Thursday. A day of foot washing, communion, and tears for me. I am going to rest tonight knowing that God has started something new for me even if I don’t what that it is yet. I can hardly believe that I am saying that, but I am not feeling stressed about this, I am feeling grace and presence and understanding. I am going to let it unfold and see what comes next.

Tonight and probably for a while longer I am going to watch and pray.

Wednesday in Holy Week

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Today’s Gospel is hard and they will get harder until we get to Sunday. Today’s Gospel is about betrayal. The betrayal of Jesus by his friend, his disciple Judas. Betrayal is a hard topic for me and I know that it is hard for most of us. I have felt betrayed by those I trusted and I am sure those who trust me have felt betrayed by me. It involves shame, guilt and other nasty feelings. It is so not what we hope the Gospel of Jesus to be about.

I actually think this is a harder day than Good Friday. For by Good Friday we know what is coming, we know what we have to get through. Today we have to live through all those feelings. Feelings that make us uncomfortable and make us question what we believe in. I am wondering today what pushes you to the edge, what feelings are hard to go through, has your faith been tested by the betrayal of those you trusted?

For now I will hang on to what this Taize chant has to say “I am sure I shall see the goodness of the Lord”. May it bring you the peace you need to continue walking with Jesus through Holy Week.

Tuesday in Holy Week

jesus_the_light_of_the_world

In the Gospel reading appointed for today we hear Jesus speaking to his disciples about being the light of the world and that he would only be with them for a short time. Today in Holy Week always strikes me as a real day of preparation. We are building up to the action, not quite there, but it is coming. Many of the clergy I know, including the dear one, will be up to their necks getting services, sermons and themselves ready for what is coming. Today I am thinking about how ready am I for this next stage of my journey? Am I ready to consolidate what I have learned? Am I ready to do what God is calling me to do next (even when I have no idea what that will be)? Are you ready?

Monday in Holy Week

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Today we remember the woman (in John’s Gospel named Mary of Bethany) who took expensive perfume and anointed Jesus with it in preparation for his death. I am wondering today what act of outrageous, generous, glorious love have you been touched by?

The hymn below is one that has touched me many times and lifts my faith up even when I haven’t known how to hold it up. The story of this woman’s love for Jesus does the same thing for me. Take a moment and listen and remember why we walk this week with Jesus.

Entering Holy Week

Holy week

Holy Week is coming! Holy Week is coming! Oh my goodness Holy Week is here…..

You may be wondering about my near hysteria about this – here’s the thing, I know that I will not see very much of the dear one for the next week. This is the crazy busy time for a clergy person and for a clergy person getting back into the swing of things it is even more a crazy busy time. I don’t begrudge the crazy busy time, I know in my heart how important this time is in the life of the church. If not for what happened during that week in Jerusalem with Jesus and his friends, there wouldn’t be a church now to remember and in the end to celebrate.

A story from when we were a younger family and our children were all under the age of ten. That year they had their spring break during Holy Week (schools really don’t take into account the life of the church at all when setting these things up). It was Wednesday of the week and the dear one was madly trying to finish up all the bulletins he needed to get done for the upcoming four days of services. Those of you who are clergy spouses whose partners don’t have secretaries will know what I am talking about. Our children all had some friends over and there was a planned sleep over going to happen that night. Best way to keep kids happy and busy is to have over their friends. Our youngest came into the kitchen to see me and to show me a spot on his tummy. Yep, you guessed it chicken pox. Within 2 hours all three of my children had come down with chicken pox!  Sleep over was cancelled and medicine was sought. Madness upon madness. In the middle of Holy Week. Well guess which clergy spouse did not get to any of the Holy Week services that year, you guessed it that would be me.

Holy Week this year, please God, won’t have any surprises like that. Although if someone is close to dying it will often happen close to high, holy church times as well and the dear one has been known to try to fit in a funeral during this time as well.

Our Holy Week isn’t going to be the slow, careful walk with Jesus to the cross and then to the empty tomb, no it is going to be the mad dash to make sure that others can experience a God filled experience. It is the calling of the dear one and it is my calling as a clergy spouse to be supportive of that. I am looking forward to all the services, beginning today with Palm Sunday and culminating on Easter Sunday. I am going to embrace the crazy busyness of it, revel in all the services, and remember why I keep faith with this strange beast called the church.

How are you going to experience Holy Week this year? What crazy busy time do you both dread and look forward to?

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