I didn’t intend on posting today, but it seems these words were waiting to come out. If you follow the Christian liturgical calendar, I hope they invite you deeper into the tension of Holy Week, and if you are simply a seeker on a spiritual journey, I hope these words remind you of the power of staying amidst the uncertainty. Blessings to you in your descent.
This is my first year to actively engage the events of Holy Week, including Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. I went to my first Maundy Thursday service last night and was deeply moved by the evening’s rituals. Sue Monk Kidd (one of my favorite authors) describes rituals as enacting meaning, and as the sanctuary was stripped bare in silence at the end of the mass, I felt as if I was being stripped bare, too.
No longer were we remembering events that happened nearly 2,000 years ago. The intimate supper, the heart-wrenching prayer, the tragic betrayal, and the sudden arrest were unfolding before me, and the tension was palpable. I carried this tension with me as I exited in silence, leaving the garden more alone and confused than when I arrived, Jesus’ desperate plea to his disciples now my very own invitation: “Will you stay? Will you join me in this place?”
I am still figuring what this looks like for me within the tension of these poignant few days, but a quote from Richard Rohr recently shared by Abbey of the Art’s Christine Valters Paintner offers some guidance amidst the mystery:
“[W]hen we look at the questions, we look for the opening to transformation. Fixing something doesn’t usually transform us. We try to change events in order to avoid changing ourselves. We must learn to stay with the pain of life, without answers, without conclusions, and some days without meaning. That is the path, the perilous dark path of true prayer.”
Oooh, I love to fix things. And I’d love to jump right on ahead to Easter because this place of tension doesn’t feel good and I sure could use a Reese’s egg right about now. But this time I’m accepting the invitation to stay. Instead of grasping for answers, I’m choosing to “look at the questions.”
After all, it’s part of being a pilgrim, right? I so hope you’ll join me on this leg of the journey.