On Sunday I leaned
Against the dark-stained pew,
Reciting the sacred story
With the faithful.
There was a gold-gilt cross in the sanctuary,
My favorite Lenten hymn,
And moms standing with cameras
When I walked in,
Photographing their children altar-servers.
Holy Week is so many things,
So many experiences.
And, while it would be nice to have them
In pieces I could easier contemplate,
Understand, apply and consume:
That’s not how it works.
Holy Week is so many things:
The genuine aromatic nard,
Dripping and seeping everywhere;
The tired, confused, scattered apostles;
The kissed betrayal;
Fresh-washed hands shaking water to the ground.
And also the shouting, blood-thirsty crowd;
The stumbling journey to death;
Forgiveness offered; curtain torn;
Blood and water rushing down.
The emotions overlap and run together,
Fast and furious: horror, sorrow, pain
But also: gratefulness, hope, love.
I wonder—where do I fit in to all of this?
I who fall asleep in prayer, too
I who eat the offered love, too
I who undoubtedly misunderstand
All too frequently, too.
I wish I had better ways of comprehending,
Better ways of participating,
Better ways of praying,
Better ways of loving.
Holy Week is so many things.
This week I will
Clean the house,
Make butter lambs,
Go to all the church services…
These parts of my life—physical and spiritual—
I wish I could enter better
Into the sacred mysteries,
But, obviously, it is impossible
To fully immerse,
But, this comforts me:
This year I have known new sufferings
And, in my faith, we believe that
Sufferings can make you more human,
Can link you to Christ
As you share pain, together.
And so, I bring that.
I bring my sufferings,
The times I’ve felt abandoned,
The moments I’ve cried out to God,
The times when the only prayers
Are rehearsed and regurgitated
Psalms–ancient honesty translated on thin paper.
I didn’t sacrifice well this Lent.
I didn’t pray well this Lent.
I tried; I failed.
Instead, all I have is hard times.
So, I’ll bring that to the table.
That’s what we’ll share
This time around.
Ringing bells, smokey incense,
Kisses against hardwood,
Tears, prayers, candlelight.
And me, ready.
And maybe not ready,