The time it takes

Holy Week hits me a little differently every year.

As a kid, I used to love and long for this week, because it meant extra opportunities to be at church, and to come in the evening, when the lights were low and everything felt a little more sacred and special.

Admittedly, since I started serving as a pastor, it became one of the busiest weeks of my year, when there was barely time to breathe between finishing one service and preparing for another.

And there are times even now that, despite how meaningful and full this week is, I want to rush through the heartache of the story and get to Easter Sunday.

That feeling is hitting me especially hard this year. I don’t want to sit in the pain and the sorrow and the loss of Thursday and Friday. I’ve felt those things too much and too often already, in the last year. (And I’m sure most of you have, too.)

I want to get to sunshine and empty tombs and Easter hymns.

I don’t even want to detour through sadness.

But there is no wiggle room in the liturgical year. No speeding things up when I want them over, no slowing things down when I want them to last longer. Just the same seven days between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday.

There is almost a discipline to it, to willing myself to stay right where I am in the story, and in the week. To not rush away from Jesus’ last supper with the disciples, or race out of the Garden of Gethsemane.

To be present to the pain, and the fear, and the loss. Because the only way out is through. Because I spend so much of my life trying to get to the next thing, instead of being right where I am, and looking for God there.

And perhaps also because Jesus didn’t take any shortcuts or outs, either.

So this week, I invite you to join me – and your church family.

Sit with us, if you can, each evening at 7 PM for a reflection, and prayer, and scripture. Some nights there will be music, and some nights just quiet. But we will not rush this week; we will travel it together. A day at a time. Taking the time it takes, to get to Sunday. Seeing what God might reveal to us, and teach us, along the way.

And we can trust that no matter how long it feels until then, how much the week seems to stretch out…that precious Easter day is coming. Thanks be to God.

-Pastor Jen

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