Monday, April 14, 2014

Churches Are So Full of Drama!

Usually when people talk about all the “drama” at their church, it’s not a good thing. But this week? It certainly is.

Holy Week is the most dramatic week imaginable for people of faith. We began yesterday with grand processionals and palms, acknowledging the kingship of Christ who reigns in glory. During the services themselves, we moved our thoughts toward the passion of Christ, who emptied himself, taking on the form of a servant. We began to fathom the wondrous love this is, that he would pour himself out for others.

During the week, our thoughts and liturgies will move toward the cleansing of the temple, when Jesus made his boundaries clear that cultural and commercial religiosity is not acceptable to the heart of God. When Jesus got angry, we need to pay attention to it.

Then there is the betrayal and denial. I can’t imagine the sorrow Jesus felt when he was betrayed and denied by such close friends (as we all know, people you don’t care about can’t hurt you as much as someone you love). I often reflect that out of 12 disciples, which Jesus had spent 3 years closely with, one of them betrayed him, one denied him, and two of them couldn’t see past their own desire for status and position. In the end, 1/3 of the disciples let him down.

Then there is Maundy Thursday, when Jesus shared Passover with his disciples, dramatically changed the symbols of the night to become about his body and blood and sacrifice, instituted our precious sacrament, washed the feet of his disciples, and gave them a new commandment that we love one another as he has loved us.

Then we arrive at Good Friday, when Jesus died on the cross and gave himself for you and me. How strange that we should call it “good” when it is a day so full of darkness. Yet we call it good because it is holy darkness; this is how God chose to save and redeem the world. Then we pause for the darkness of the tomb on Saturday.

Then we will gather for Sunrise service and breakfast on Easter. We are always (and have always been, and always will be) people of hope! All of our liturgies and activities lead us through this dramatic journey. I hope you will participate as much as you can.

But the drama of the story itself is greater than anything we can possibly dramatize. Let the week move your heart and deepen your soul. Let it bring you to tears and cause you to struggle. Let it be dark night of the soul, which brings us to the joy of Easter light.

It’s a good thing there’s a lot of drama at your church. That’s just what the world needs.

Pictured is Antonio Ciseri's "Behold the Man"