Holy Week for a Hurting World
A Letter to RCH
Holy Week begins this Sunday with "Palm Sunday." What a strange and terrifying context for the last week of Lent to arrive, for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, for Easter. I had hoped it would not come to this. We are taking our place among the great throng of Christians throughout history and around the world who have been forced to conduct creative worship services in the trying circumstances of oppression, pestilence, poverty, isolation, homelessness, and war –– the usual state of things for many people.
Of the great challenge facing him in The Lord of the Rings, Frodo said to Gandalf, “I wish it need not have happened in my time." We understand. As my kids would put it, "SAME!" But listen to Gandalf's wise reply. "So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; we are struck down, but not destroyed (2 Cor. 4). What we chose to do at this time is open ourselves to the God who is love, even as we journey with him through a valley of tears. We choose to love our neighbors by practicing solitude for social good. We choose to deeply miss one another during Holy Week. May God fill us up with more of himself in this want and absence. May he make us reservoirs of love. May the Lord once again "build up the city, and gather the exiles of his people" (Ps. 147). Amen.
And so this Sunday get creative and make some fake palm branches to wave. Share your pictures of them on our social media. Show up at 10:30am EST for our livestream on our YouTube channel. Download the bulletin beforehand, as we aren't sure we can put links under the livestream ahead of time. If you are able to give please do so ahead of time or be ready to give during the offering. I will write back early next week with other unique opportunities to observe Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter as a scattered community.
Be All Manner of Well,