"Of course Holy Week is hard," you say, impatient with someone who wants you to take care of yourself. "It's not supposed to be easy. The prototype was hard." Months beforehand, you map out what will happen when, what will lead to what, and it looks tough but not impossible. Now it is upon you. While still not impossible, it looks considerably more daunting than it did in January. You wonder about yourself, about the drive to have everything perfect. You wonder why your reach so habitually exceeds your grasp. You remember your mother warning you about biting off more than you could chew. You remember laughing about that with a friend who was ambitious like you -- your moms just didn't know how amazing you were. They didn't know that you could do anything. Anything.
We were all much younger then, with bodies that did our bidding without our having to ask them twice. Younger even than Jesus -- lots younger than he was when he did it for real. When we thought about his agony in the garden, it was as a temporary failure of nerve, from which he recovered promptly. We needed our Jesus to be at least as self-confident as we were.
A lot of water under the bridge since those days. We no longer think we can do everything. There are moments when we can't do anything, when our only option is to let something happen to us, to become what we used to scorn: a person who is not in charge. A handful of pills keeps us alive for one more day, and will tomorrow, too, if we remember to take them. Many people are now smarter than we are; there didn't used to be any. People today are born knowing how to do things that confound our best efforts to master them. Our children are starting to forbid us to do things, in a nice way. They sometimes think we bite off more than we can chew. It seems we've heard that somewhere before.
Jesus' loss of power was early. He seems to have submitted to it voluntarily. We were luckier -- we got the chance to live, to love, to joke with our friends about growing old. The liturgies of Holy Week march us through his Passion again. It's fast -- he's dead in a week. That's true of some of us, though not of most. For most of us, that mystery is slower, and still ahead.
Deacon Joanna Depue of More Or Less Church here on the Farm creates Stations of the Cross for others to use. You can use hers, too, with the usual attribution -- read them at www.geraniumfarm.org. Entries are dated March 11, 2005, March 30, 2006 and April 2, 2009.
9-12. Neighborhood Stations of the Cross. Begins at St. Luke's, 17 Oak Avenue, Metuchen NJ 08840.
12-3. The Seven Last Words. Barbara Crafton, preaching. Karl Watson, organ.
7pm. Liturgy for Good Friday
Holy Saturday. Quiet Day with Barbara Crafton at St. Barnabas, Ardsley, NY. Call 914-693-3366
Easter Day. Barbara Crafton preaches at St Luke's at 10am.
While Holy Week unfolds, the world wags on. Carol Stone examines scary news about America's negative outlook from Standard and Poors in Ways of the World. Many of us find the economic news difficult to grasp; Carol is a master at explaining it to us. Visit www.geraniumfarm.org, click on Ways of the World.
Better things are ahead -- visit the HodgePodge on the Farm to look at Easter desserts made from Peeps, the iconic Easter marshmallow chick! Click on HodgePodge.