Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Holy Week

There are just a few things I want to remember, from Holy Week this year.

I want to remember how windy it was, while we were standing outside, waiting to go in on Palm Sunday.  I want to remember how everyone sang and waved their palms.  I want to remember how it struck me that we looked bigger in number than we were, simply because we were standing there waving our palms.  I want to remember the children who were sitting in the front during the message.  I want to remember them saying "yes" when I asked the question, "Did Jesus forgive you?"  I want to remember how several adults put their hand out to receive a bit of oil, to remember Jesus' healing ministry.   I want to remember how everyone got into the action and shouted out, "Hosanna! Blessed are you King Jesus!"

Then, suddenly, it was Thursday.  It was Thursday evening.  It was the night that Jesus' was betrayed.

There was a bowl, and a towel, and a pitcher.  I had asked a couple of children if it would be okay to wash their feet, as part of the sermon.  They said yes.

In the middle of the sermon, I walked down, and invited them up.  Two tiny children.  They took a turn sitting in the chair.  Their feet did not touch the ground.  They agreed to have their feet washed.  I lifted the bowl up and poured a little water from the pitcher on their feet, and then dried them.

And then, I asked if anyone else would let me wash their feet.  Another little girl scampered up.

I want to remember that.

After communion, during the stripping of the altar we heard the mournful beauty of the guitar, playing along to suffering and betrayal.

Too soon it was Friday evening.  It was a simple service, simpler than I have done before.  A short meditation, music, and nine readers from my congregation.  Nine voices telling the sorrowful story.  Everyone told it in their own voice.  Everyone's voice was strong.  A soloist sings Mary's sorrow.

I want to remember that.

Someone said that this simple service was the most moving Good Friday he had attended.  Other people said they were honored to be asked to play a part.

On Sunday we heard many kinds of Alleluias.  But what I want to remember on Sunday is the children, and how they put the flowers on the cross.  There is always chaos.  It always takes longer than I think it will.

Holy Week.  It belongs to all of us.  The children with their flowers, the soloists, the choir, the readers, the prayers, and all the rest of us.  His resurrected life is in our lives, our feet, our hands, our voices.

I want to remember that.

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