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Holy Week Reflections

March 27, 2018

This has been an unusual Lenten journey for us. Exhausted after the long month of November walking with my Mom and Dad through the final days of Mom’s earthly journey I just didn’t have the energy to put together Midweek Services for Lent with Denise. I always enjoy the creativity that she reveals as we put together not just a liturgy but a complete visual, emotional, spiritual, and musical experience.

As it turned out, we would have missed over half of the Wednesday services. While we were in Minnesota helping my Dad clear out the rest of the Condo where he and Mom had lived for a year we got a call from Alabama. Two weeks before Denise had been with her parents in Alabama during which her Mom was hospitalized. Things had taken a turn for the worse and the Hospice Nurse told Denise that we needed to get there quickly. I flew back for worship and to officiate at a funeral in Estes Park before returning to Alabama where we laid Jeanne to rest. We arrived back in Estes Park the night before Palm Sunday and Holy Week.

Two constant Scriptural companions for me were the 23rd Psalm and the Beatitudes. Specifically, these words–“Even thought I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” and “blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

On Monday I had a marathon production morning and afternoon putting together bulletins for the month of April. We then celebrated Communion at the Good Samaritan Village with members and friends who live there. The evening closed with a wonderful dinner fellowship with parishioners.

Is it really Holy Week? Part of me feels like I have missed the entire Lenten journey. Another part of me realizes that I had been walking the Lenten journey in a way that I had never done before. This even more unusual than the Lenten journey of 2005 in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan where I deployed as a USAF Chaplain.

Still processing the journey with my Mom and Dad, Denise and I were walking a similar journey with her Mom and Dad. Even though I walk through the Valley of the Shadows, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. We were walking through the Lenten journey in a new and very personal way.

And now, it is Holy Week. We are walking with Jesus through the darkness of rejection, betrayal, torture, suffering, and death. In a weird sort of way it feels like I am trying to catch up with Jesus as he makes this journey.

Denise had a similar experience in a class we took on Ignatian Spirituality at Columbia Seminary. We were supposed to be spending time reflecting on and placing ourselves in Scripture, specifically Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Things kept happening and she felt like she was racing to catch up with Jesus before he died on the cross.

The week shows no signs of letting up and the race continues for both of us. Yet even in the midst of it all, there have been sacred and holy moments. Time with the dear people I work with at church… time with dear friends in our community… time with dear friends who are members of the church… time with Denise as we enjoy being back home after so much time away… and precious time simply reflecting and being present with the Lord.

Lord, it is Holy Week

You spent time in the chaos

You spent time in the Shadows

You call and invite us to join you

To join you in the messiness of life

For us, even in the messiness

Even in the Shadows

Even in our mourning

You are present with us

Lead us and guide us along the path

In your words which John shares in his Gospel

“The light is with you for a little longer.

Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you.

If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going.” — John 12:35

Walk with us, Lord…

Guide us through the darkness

Grant us your Peace

Dona Nobis Pacem

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