Where I live, this coming week promises to be typical for this time of year: A big swing in weather patterns, keeping gardeners, golfers and gophers on edge. Because this coming week is designated as “holy”, it’s possible that my thoughts and behaviors will be bent toward what’s holy—whatever that might mean. Looking ahead at the coming days, I find my thoughts ranging as widely and wildly as the weather patterns.
God made and makes this week-and every other week holy. So my first reaction to the coming days can center on what God has done and is doing. Because of this week in Jesus life, God’s Spirit invites me into holy emotions that reverberate inside my older adult spirit. The joy of success (Palm Sunday) heading for the depth of despair (Good Friday). Relief that the course of God’s loving history has come to completion. Assurance that salvation is finally accomplished for all time: a world forgiven, redeemed, and invited into God’s holy purposes.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had the feeling that I’m supposed to do something because of the holiness of this week. When I was younger, I thought I should try to be more like Jesus. In these later years, I know how hard that can be. At this time in my life, I think the invitation is more like “Look closely at the first Holy Week so that you can be wise about any week you experience.”
What might that look like? Should I stop doing everything that’s normal—like Jesus looking for figs—and reach beyond ordinary living toward a greater signficance in God’s plan? Should I share Jesus’ prophetic foreboding—and sorrow—about what’s peering over the horizons of our culture? How should I ride the spiritual roller coaster of Hosannas, Passover prayers and blood-sweating prayers? How quickly should I set aside this week’s somber remembrances to break out into Easter Alleluias?
The older I get, the more I realize that that first Holy Week recapitulates itself in these times. The same wild swings in mood—ecstasy and triumph heading towards dread and fear. The same forces that want to destroy what God has in mind. The same attitude about a future that’s reluctant to show its hand right away. The same certainty that the price for new life is always high—and that it’s been paid. And always, always evident: The same sweet, tiny foretaste of total rescue and redemption showing itself like hesitant Spring flowers.
One thing that also I’m sure about: This holy week is a time to recommit myself to what God was trying to accomplish in that first Holy Week. My ordinary life still needs to continue, to be well-engaged, purposefully so. I still must be willing to sacrifice for the greater good. People still need my help, especially those who are stuck in sorrow or not yet ready to accept God’s Easter rescue.
I think that Holy Week will be good this year. All the whirling emotions, all the memories and all the Spirit-invitations will collect together to help move me towards holy living.
Whatever that still means….