Monday, April 6, 2009

Preparing for Holy Week

This has been a week. A week of sad and frightening events. In Antarctica the ice bridge that held Wilkins Ice Shelf in place and connected to Antarctica has shattered. The ice shelf is the size of Jamaica. At the other end of the globe the Arctic ice has been replaced by new ice, in fact it is the thinnest sheet of ice on record as we move into spring. All of this reflects the effects of global warming and potential problems for life on this planet.

In Italy an earthquake strikes while people are sleeping. The death toll continues to climb. Entire villages have been flattened. A nation that is no stranger to earthquakes is never-the-less stunned. For now the focus must be on search and rescue. Only later will Italy deal with the loss of medieval buildings and lost history.

North Korea launched a ballistic missile and in the process escalated fears in the north Pacific. The Taliban has threatened two attacks a week and America has been struck by a spree of senseless killings.

However, this is Holy Week. Our focus is on death, but one particular death. The focus is not to depress but to remind us of why we believe. In a world of pain we are to remember that death is not the last event, that Adam and Eve did not have the last word in the matter. This is the week we walk with Jesus, Mary and the Apostles. We enter Jerusalem first in joy and then watch the condemnation, the trial, the abuse and the death. However, like our Orthodox brothers and sisters, we share in being a resurrection church. Without Easter we are a philosophy, a Jewish sect, a variation on a theme. But Easter does come, Life triumphs over death. We are called to join our Triune God to celebrate life with a generous Creator, to partake in the good from the Good.

There really is a world of hurt in this world of ours. That is not all that is present. For those with eyes, ears, hands, a tongue and a nose there is plenty to take in. To live sacramentally is to acknowledge the Good and this week we prepare to mark that time in the history of the universe when the Good shatters all suffering. That occurs not by avoiding suffering or going around it. Like all healing, it requires that one go through the suffering. Friday we will witness the "going through" the suffering and then Sunday we will see the triumph.

Our prayers go out to a suffering world and our prayers of gratitude go to a generous God. Have a good Holy Week.

Give Us Clean Hands: Chris Tomlin

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