The Disillusionment of Holy Week

Growing up, I never heard of “Holy Week.” Now, it’s all the rage. I am left to wonder why? As a child, I just anticipated the big day of Easter. I knew nothing about the week before. Now, as an adult, I know that I cannot fully grasp the day of Easter without being grasped by the week before Easter. Perhaps this is why I can fully realize this week as a Holy Week.Our world has become so secular; so filled with eggs and bunnies, robins and nests, chocolate and brightly colored baskets. We want all the color, comfort and cozy things of life without the pain and passion of these days of “Holy Week.” The week before Easter has nothing to do with bright color; nothing to do with bunnies; nothing to do with celebration.Holy Week is a journey of seven days and seven long nights to examine the pain and passion of Jesus. It’s about examining unmet expectations; shattered dreams and painful realizations of disillusionment. When one embraces one's own betrayal; dashed dreams and discarded illusions we've clung to in life, then we are ready for a deeper meaning of Easter.All the people around Jesus were dashed to the ground, along with their dreams and illusions, because of this week. Each one: Mary, Peter, Judas, Lazarus, Martha—all had their personal hopes go bankrupt. Each faced a disillusionment of their own seismic proportions. Each person lost something. Peter lost his loyalty. Thomas lost his faith. Judas lost his life. Mary lost her son. Each day of this week became a new ground zero of faith and failure; betrayal and conviction; courage and cowards. Holy week is holding on to what we have lost in life--or will lose soon. There are no exemptions for some kind of loss. None. Every person must walk through their own holy week of loss, disappointment and bewilderment. These are the very things that prepare us for a new opening in our lives--even the opening of a tomb.On Thursday in particular, it was a day of the bottom falling out of the sky. This happened to us, just today. We had hoped of spending our Easter days with a couple of our sons and their families. Our grandchildren were coming. We found a small house at the beach to hold us. They found a house to hold them. It was all set. Then, it came-- a phone call of Maundy Thursday proportions. There house fell through and a phone call brought the shocking news of a tightly held illusion going south. They were told that their house was double booked and they could not come.When the news came, I at first felt a lunge of panic---my hopes of finding sea shells by the sea shore with my grandkids were harpooned and I was left sinking and felt my dreams drowning in the high tide. We would be alone. We would be by ourselves. A shattered dream--again.But my illusions of Easter are pitiful in comparison to Mary—the mother of Jesus. The son she bore in her womb would soon be crucified and she would stand at the cross as she stood when that angel's message pierced her virgin soul. How Mary did it, is how we all must learn to do it--to do life--to endure and to overcome--for this is the real message of every Easter.I had a Mary moment on Maundy Thursday when that phone call came from my son. I mustered courage to say, “All is not lost. Something will open up.” And it did. Another house came open due to someone elses cancellation and alas, my grands and my sons and their wives will come. It will be Easter after all. There will be sea shelling and eggs and crab benedict to boot.You and I stand this week in a week that truly is holy. Each day as we move close to the grave opening up—which is far, far, far better than a house at the beach opening up, everything in our lives will change.May the disappointments, betrayal, shattered dreams, stings of the many deaths of our journies, converge to a Blessed Easter--a day of every tomb opening for us because of the opening of Jesus' tomb that very holy morn.But until then--until Easter, we must wait in our shattered dreams.

One Week from Today

One week from today is Maunday Thursday---that scandalous night when Jesus orchestrated a dinner party that ended in his arrest and eventual death the next day. Of all the days of Holy Week, this one day is the most awful and most beautiful.Here we find Jesus eager to share a meal where the food would merely transport them to a deeper meaning of his true identity and what he was about to do. He told his companions that he was eager to share the meal with them--but why eager?There is a holy eagerness that we find ourselves drawn into as we journey towards Easter. An eagerness for the music to switch from minor keys to major melodies! In some churches, you can't say "Hallelujah" until Easter Sunday---all through the Lenten Season---imagine no Hallelujahs. We find ourselves eager to say and to believe in the Hallelujah of Easter.One week from today, we'll be on the final countdown towards Lent ending and Easter's gift to us.Am I ready for this change?What do I need to give attention to in this season of waiting?One week from the world began to alter its course.This is my Lenten Journey.Stephen W. Smithwww.pottersinn.comPotter's Inn