Being Led into the Holiness of this Week

April 14, 2019

All paths bring us to this week.  No matter what kind of Lent we have had, whether it was a rocky road or a dry desert, whether we had mountains to climb or demons to face, we are here.  Did you ever see an athlete prepare for an Olympic event?  Skiers visualize the run, marathoners do the same.  They use their minds to transform themselves so they can be most prepared for what is to take place.  We long to be in the midst of the experience reacting and embracing it as best we can.  3D brought what was two dimensional into an event that puts us closer.  The new visual reality advancements can transport a person into the room or by the stream.  It is amazing technology.  All of this desire to enter fully into an experience is a part of our DNA.

This week is set apart from all others.  We celebrate the dying and rising of Jesus the Christ, the Son of God.  While we know the story and can visualize the events, the liturgies offer more than what visual reality can do.  Beyond all technology is the reality of God’s eternal promise.  He will physically and really be present.  The liturgies offer a doorway in.  We can be totally immersed into a mystery that defies the world, redefines it and makes it new.  With everything happening in the world, who wouldn’t want that?  It is God’s promise and He will deliver.

Holiness will be found in the First Reading from Exodus on Holy Thursday when we hear that the Passover meal which Jesus will change and transform is already a perpetual institution.  Holiness will be found on Friday as we gather midday to hear the words of the Christ’s Passion in the Gospel of St. John when Jesus will say “It is finished,” as He hands over His spirit.  Our faith will know it is not over; His death is punishment for our sins and He will rise.  Holiness will be found on Saturday of the Vigil when in Luke’s Gospel we will hear, “He is not here, but He has been raised.”  These simple scriptures invite our minds to be drawn into the awe of such an experience.

The liturgies go further by inviting us to God’s promise found in water blessed, wine consecrated and bread that is the Body of the crucified and risen Savior.  We will also experience the cross that is adored reverently, respectfully and individually, making redemption personal.  Additionally this week is the invitation of feet being washed as a recognition of our own call to discipleship and the belief God has in each of us.

The promise of redemption is found in this week.  The sacred three days are packed with the richness of everything we need for faith development.  Beyond visualization is the reality that God makes His dwelling in this event.  God as trinity descends upon the experience, beyond the words, beyond the music, beyond the gestures, beyond our very selves.  That is what it means to walk into the mystery.  Entering into the mystery means we free ourselves of expectation, we prepare ourselves like the Olympic athlete to do all we can in our power to experience the greatest outcomes possible.  The greatest outcomes of this week is redemptive love.  It is conversion beyond our control.  All we need to do is present ourselves to the mystery as open as we can be.  God will not disappoint.  He longs to celebrate this week with us, He longs to change our lives.  He longs to lead us into holiness. This is the most important thing we can ever do in our lives.  Believe it.  I do.

All paths lead us here,

Reverend  John J. Ouper