It’s dark and cold, and the trail is coated in snow and ice. I had ventured out because neither man nor beast could take being cooped up any longer. For what felt like an eternity, the much loved Dakota trail that runs behind our house had been unfit for walking our dog. Yet the calendar said spring… and from where I could see on my perch, it looked like patches were beginning to clear on the trail. “I’m going to give it a shot,” I thought.
Within minutes I was slipping and sliding, and it became abundantly clear that my once excited pooch was wanting to retreat back to the warmth of our home. Entering my house I had an initial feeling of disappointment… maybe winter was going to last forever. And as I was shedding my layers of thick clothing, I oddly began to feel a sense of accomplishment. Sure it was not the wonderful walk that both my dog and I had hoped for, but we did venture out for a small walk and that was more than we had done in a long time. And all of this made me feel hopeful that soon the long, dark days would diminish, and with that a brighter, warmer sun would begin to melt the snow and ice on our pathway.
My walk through Holy Week often has similar dynamics. I begin Palm Sunday with such high expectations fueled by childhood memories of processing around the outside of the church. And then, more often than not, it is pouring rain and the procession has to change direction to an inside route. Maundy Thursday shortly follows and I am filled with warmth, watching loved ones wash each other’s feet. As the service begins to come to a close, and the sanctuary is stripped empty, my soul often feels the same. Good Friday comes and I always appreciate moving through the Stations of the Cross, but at the end of the journey, my heart always feels very heavy. Holy Saturday arrives and anticipation begins to mount. The journey of the last few days feels dark and empty. And yet, I also feel a sense of accomplishment that the hardest part is over and light is coming.
And I can’t help but begin to hum one of my favorite hymns:
I want to walk as a child of the light;
I want to follow Jesus.
God set the stars to give light to the world;
The star of my life is Jesus.
In him there is no darkness at all;
The night and the day are both alike.
The Lamb is the light of the city of God.
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.
I want to see the brightness of God;
I want to look at Jesus.
Clear Sun of Righteousness, shine on my path
And show me the way to the Father.
I’m looking for the coming of Christ;
I want to be with Jesus.
When we have run with patience the race,
We shall know the joy of Jesus. (Kathleen Thomerson)
May you have a blessed Holy Week journey.