Is it just me? It feels like 2023 has been a slog so far. I’m pretty certain it isn’t just me, because as I look around, everyone looks like they are struggling. Life is full of struggles, but I don’t remember them being so palpable around most people most of the time like now. We strive and yearn and wait. Like Holy Week.
Whether you were a COVID worrier or denier, it really doesn’t matter. The world just feels different than it did a little over three years ago. Different for the millions of people who died. Different for the anger that seemed to be loosed from both sides of that debate. Different for the businesses struggling, the product shortages, the everything-just-doesn’t-quite-work state.
We see it, we recognize it, but none of us quite know how to get back to where we were. Too often the “golden days” are more the product of our forgetting past trouble than any once present better state. In the case of “B.C.” — before COVID — though, I think there might be something to it. A time when we thought we were relatively safe and, in comparison, life went with fewer unexpected bumps.
Sometimes a bump is a good thing. Today, going with my mom to drop something off for my uncle, who is in an assisted living facility, we walked into an Anglican priest’s leading of a simple, sweet Holy Week service. My uncle probably never attended an Anglican service in his life prior to his moving into the facility, but looks forward to this particular pastor’s ministry each week.
I’d never had the opportunity to observe one of the services until today. The pastor shared the passion narrative about the Savior and then went to each resident, including those who hadn’t managed to get to the activity area, to offer communion.
As I watched this man greet each resident by name and take all the time they needed, it made me think about my own weariness and anxiousness. I’ve felt more than a little frayed as I have been trying to get Holy Week preparations done for my own church, compounding that general sense of malaise that has settled over our whole world. For a moment, though, I was entirely caught up in the sacred time of the work of Jesus being visibly shared with those folks too often forgotten in our society.
They are waiting. We are waiting. Whatever place in life we are in, we wait for things to be made right. We struggle to make things right.
We should seek to right what we can and to do what God has called us to do. When the rubber meets the road, though, no matter how much we right within our power, no matter how faithful we are to our lives’ callings, we still wait.
I think that’s part of the disillusionment of the COVID-and-beyond era. The pandemic, and all the subsequent fallout, reminded us of just how powerless we are.
The people in Jesus’s day felt powerless too. Then they thought they had the solution: Jesus’s star power seemed to be rising. The Palm Sunday crowd thought they had the escape from the toils of their existence in a king who could overthrow ruthless leaders.
In fact, they did, but not how they thought. It would take them turning against Jesus, discarded with as much fanfare as we discard the latest trend-of-yesterday today. It would take a crucifixion of that innocent man, and His resurrection three days later, to offer the real solution.
All that was ahead. The middle of Holy Week, there was just the slog of the moment and a hope for a worldly solution. Not much has changed.
Yet everything has, if we look where they and we ought.
Timothy R. Butler is Editor-in-Chief of Open for Business. He also serves as a pastor at Little Hills Church and FaithTree Christian Fellowship.
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