Our Crier newsletter this month is coming out just before our Holy Week celebration as we move toward Easter. On the last night of Jesus’ earthly human life, he went to pray and asked his friends to follow him and pray also. So we gather as Jesus’ friends in our own day for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday. We walk the prayer walk with Jesus through these last days of denial and betrayal and what looks like ultimate failure in a violent death on the cross because Jesus wants us there and because there is really no other way to get to Easter and Resurrection. The way is rich and powerful and sorrowful and dark; but it is the only way to the Easter light.
This year, we will do a hybrid of online worship mixed with a few opportunities to worship together out- doors. We do all our worship with safety precautions for ourselves and each other and our community, be- cause that’s what Christian people do, living for the larger community. But we also do so without the safe- ty net of just “going to church.” We go – online, in-person, and in our private prayers – to be with Jesus through difficult days. We seek to pick up our own cross and follow him. We recognize our place in the crowd that calls out “crucify him!” We allow ourselves to know the agony of Jesus’ mother, Mary, at the cross. We know we can get too busy to risk the full presence of our lives at the Last Supper or in prayer in Gethsemane or even at Golgotha. Part of us would like the happy ending of Easter without the challenges and darkness that gets us there.
I hope you will find the deep desire in you to be present with Jesus through all the days of Holy Week. When you find yourself overwhelmed with the sorrow and hatred, find a friend or loved one to walk with you. And when the time comes, courageously stand with Mary and the Beloved Disciple at the cross as our God dies in love for us. The more you and I can experience this, the more we will know what it means to stand at the tomb and have Jesus, resurrected, call our name.
The Very Rev. Gary Barker