Holy Week is a hard week for me. Usually, it’s not hard for me to “get into” a story (as a child, I often struggled more to “get out”!). But Holy Week is hard because I know how it ends.
Good Friday? Well, yes, that’s the day we remember that Jesus died. But he came back! Two days later, I’m absolutely positive. Holy Saturday? I’m sure it was difficult beyond words for his friends and family to leave him, along with many of their hopes and dreams, in the tomb. But he came back!
Do you see the pattern here? This is why I struggle with the story of Jesus’ death (and, actually, all of Lent). It’s not that I don’t believe it, or that the emotional impact doesn’t hit me. It’s more that I don’t remember living life without knowing that Jesus came back. Ever since I was very small, since my first Easters, I’ve known that Jesus was the one who came back. That bit of knowledge has been central to who I understand him to be. Other people did their worst, did all of the terrible things to him, but he still came back. The fact that I know he comes back mitigates some of the pain and some of my ability to walk in those desolate places year after year.
As I write, I’m actually struggling with this. On the one hand, walking through some of those dark places seems important, even if all it ever serves to do is highlight Easter morning (and I would guess that it does more than that). On the other hand, my Lord lives. He is alive to me and I struggle to imagine him dead. The fact that I can’t live (even if only for a few days) in a world where he is gone tells me that I truly know him, alive and active. And in that, I rejoice.
In the end, I want to find a way to truly walk through Holy Week without losing the fact that he comes back. I want to honor him by remembering the worst, the hardest, the pain and indignity of it all. But I don’t ever, ever want to forget that the Lord is Risen. Indeed. Alleluia!