Monday, April 9, 2012
Most clergy will tell you that they, well, sort of dread Holy Week. It's hard not to when there's so much work to be done. Just how many decent sermons can one person churn out in a limited period of time, all the while attending to the usual pastoral care needs? It's so, so easy to be caught up in the business and bulletins that you forget why you are doing what you do.
And of course, there's the guilt: one a Good Friday visit to the local nursing home with the Sunday School class, who'd made Easter baskets for our residents there, one woman made a point of detailing my inadequacies in bringing communion to her. I know that I'd love to take her communion as often as she demands it, but since she requires my presence and not that of the Lay Eucharistic Visitors, it's simply not going to happen. And she doesn't realize that she's not the only one in the parish who needs a visit or has a pastoral need. It's those kind of days that exhaust you.
And then, on that same day, I had one of those events that exhilarate! At the hands of those same kids, 6 girls, 3 sets of sister, the same ones who plucked the last nerves of the teachers, parents, and clergy who took them to the nursing home after school. We came back to church as they were to lead the Stations of the Cross for us during the Good Friday Liturgy. Rehearsal was not very promising. But wow, did they ever 'bring it' to the actual liturgy. Elena and Jamison were so intent on doing the best job they could as acolytes, I thought someone's tongue would be bitten off. And we ended up at exactly the right station each time, which is better than some of the adults have done in years past! And Jamison, Lucy, Lydia, and Annelise read each of the stations with such care. We had to practice "iniquity" a lot, but they did so well. I forced myself to let go of worrying about the pronunciation, and instead focused on the words, the hard words, coming from such sweet voices.
I don't think I'll ever do the stations again without hearing their voices in my head.
And this is what Holy Week and Easter are all about: Jesus died for the young and the old, the ones who grumble and the ones who pluck someone's last nerves, the ones who can say "iniquity" and those of us who have lived our own iniquities.
Out of the mouths of babes comes the Easter acclamation: Alleluia. Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Thanks be to God!