I’m writing this at 2:53AM and sleep is elusive. I can feel the anxiety in my body — shortness of breath, wide awake, adrenaline pumping through my veins and a mind that races. This is new territory with a pandemic now being part of our global narrative. I know in my head that anxiety, for me, is connected to fear and sadness. Fear of what will happen to me or my loved ones and sadness over so much loss of life and grief. Can you relate? During this season of isolation of unknown length, you are on my mind. Daily I get up, read the passages in the Gospels that retrace the steps of Jesus during this Holy Week, and I am reminded of hope being more than a feeling.
I can’t help but notice the timing of the surge of cases of COVID-19 in the USA as we enter Holy Week; that sacred week which began with Palm Sunday and ends with Resurrection. A lot can happen in a week. In a week’s time you can have a nation crying out “Hosanna” – which means “Save us now!” thinking that their coming King would save them from oppression of their current ruler, but he had a different way. His way of salvation was not what they were crying out for.
In a week’s time you have Jesus getting angry at what was happening within the temple and he even took time to sit down and braid a whip. We also see Jesus with his best friends, his beloved disciples, sharing Passover (which just so happens to fall on Wednesday this year) and praying John 17 in front of them. We see in this same week a betrayal from a friend that would pierce any of us to the core. We see his closest friends falling asleep on him when he needed them most. We see the most unjust trial, persecution, pressure of an angry and threatened crowd and a death that was brutal in every way. This leads us to Silent Saturday. Jesus has died and the disciples have amnesia and can’t access the truth that the next day He won’t be dead.
This particular season in our country, do you have moments of amnesia? Moments of such fear that things will not be okay? As we wait and watch and let fear dictate our decisions, we have to be careful to not make up our own narrative in the absence of satisfactory answers. We are invited to embrace mystery. Here’s what we know: we know that Silent Saturday does not last forever. We know that one day all will be made right, even if now it seems as if the world has been turned upside down. We know that God promises to be with us and He promises that He will lead us as Psalm 143:10 says, “Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”
Will you let me know how I can pray for you? Some of you have lost your jobs, some of you are medical professionals working tirelessly and without the equipment you need. Some of you have had to close your businesses and have family members who are sick. Some of you are living alone and wondering when you can have face to face connection again. We have losses and those need to be grieved and acknowledged. We also know that Resurrection is coming. It has already happened, but in our own lives, things that need to be brought back to life, well, that’s what He does best. He loves us and brings us to life in places that seem dead and hopeless. I am praying for glimpses of those moments in your own life this Holy Week.