Grace and Peace to you.
We get dragged into Holy Week, or, theologically speaking, Holy Crap Week, though in the original Aramaic it’s not as polite as “crap.” It feels like that for us pastors who have to crank out extra worship services all week long, and then a Big Multi-Media Production on Easter Sunday, and it had better be good, because all those once-a-year folks are there and it’s our one chance to impress them. Then we do our taxes.
And it feels like Holy Crap Week for the choir director, who’d love to do a lot of really cool upbeat anthems but instead has to provide the sound track for the Bubonic Plague all week.
And it’s Holy Crap week for the janitor who has to clean the place up after all the palms and donkey poop on Sunday, then after all the bread and wine and soap suds on Thursday, and then all the blood on Friday… Well, kidding about the blood.
And it’s Holy Crap Week for people who just really don’t want to have to do all the Doom and Gloom and stuff, who really want to jump from palms to lilies, no thorns or nails in between, thank you. Or at least wait till Friday to get too gory, OK? And we can skip that anyway, right?
Meanwhile it actually is Holy Crap Week for some people. Now, parent alert: I’m using the original language here. For the sake of those who actually suffer this is Holy Shit Week. The week we face the worst about our lives. This week we look at our worst nightmares. Not just our bad feelings but our actual, real deep down evil. We face our fear and judgment and self-enclosure. And how our crap affects everybody else. We spend time with the folks on death row, and the chronically abused, the mentally ill, the desperate refugees. For a week we face the looming cancer, the floundering marriage, the festering shame. We don’t get to skip facing how people are tortured for our sake. And we don’t get to complain, because it’s not for us. It’s for them. We stand at the unyielding grave, we sit in the hard prison cell, the doomed hospital room, the cruel courtroom, the dangerous bedroom. We sit with the condemned, the trafficked, the shamed, the bullied, the beaten, the broken, and there’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all, because it’s not for us. It’s just where Jesus goes, so we go with him, and we sit here. No whining. In this deep hole there’s really nothing honest to say but, Holy Crap. Or worse.
And the worst part is Jesus is not going to cure them, or rescue them, or even make them feel better. He’s just going to sit there with them, suffer with them, die with them. Because he is one with us even in our deepest sin and worst suffering and cruelest failures. Because God is.
So we go with Jesus to the cross, and it takes a whole week, shaking our heads and weeping as we face how really, really mean we sometimes are, and how really, really despairing and alone we sometimes feel. And even still he chooses to be with us. And incredulously we say, “Seriously? Holy Crap.”
We don’t have to believe. We don’t have to trust the future. All we have to do is let him be here. And because he does want to be with us, even before we get to Easter, holding us close in love, even the deepest crap is indeed made holy. Because God is here. All we can do is be astonished.
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