I have always thought of Holy Week as a journey. It is something that is best experienced over time. I am grateful that we have that time, an entire week, to think about what is happening and to feel the extreme emotional highs and lows. Even though I know the story well, I find that each year is a different journey depending on what is happening in my own life and in the world around me. This year is no exception.
Most years, I seem to focus on what is happening to Jesus. How would it feel to be celebrated as you come into Jerusalem, and then be mocked, derided, and eventually killed just a few days later? The resurrection was incredibly joyous, but Jesus’ interactions with his closest friends seem different afterward. Why?
This year, as I was preparing music for Holy Week, I found myself thinking more about Jesus’ disciples. What were the Apostles feeling as the week’s events unfolded? How did they deal with losing a leader and friend for whom they had given up everything to follow? How did they manage their emotions which must have been overwhelming?
I’m sure you already see why my thoughts were heading in the direction of the Apostles. I completely understand that what Jesus’ followers went through was much more gut-wrenching and world-changing than anything we, at the Parish of the Epiphany, are experiencing. But the more I thought about their journey, the more I saw similarities in our own. There is no doubt that we are all on a journey together this year, and it is important that we take some time to reflect on all that is happening around us. Our journey also comes with extreme emotional highs and lows. We have all shared a sense of pride that Thomas felt called and was elected to be the Bishop of Maine. Soon we will be able to celebrate his consecration. Of course, we have also shed many tears because Thomas will no longer be with us as our leader. We know that while we will still have a relationship with Thomas, that relationship will be changed. There is a noticeable sense of loss.
The best part is that there is much good news. There was certainly good news for Jesus’ disciples that Easter Day, for it was not the end of something as they had feared, but only the beginning. As we continue our journey through the church year, we will be reminded even the miracle of Easter is not the end of the story. Jesus eventually leaves his followers and sends them a new guide in the form of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
This is good news for all of us today as well. We know that the Holy Spirit will be working through all of us as we begin to talk about our hopes and dreams for a new leader at Epiphany. We can also be comforted to know that the Holy Spirit will be working through Miriam, Ran, and our soon to be named interim who will walk with us and guide us. None of us can predict what the next year will bring. But as we journey through Holy Week, Pentecost, and this year of exploration, I pray that we will all be open to experiencing the exciting things that God has in store for each of us.