Holy Week.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

Holy Week is upon us. I don’t know how you all do it. But I’m about to find out. It’s my first Holy Week as a priest-in-charge. Oh, I’ve participated in, helped plan and lead many Holy Week services. This is different: My first time assembling and conducting the whole schmear.

My observation of many mentor clergy over the years is that this is a demanding (gruelling?) week for the best of us. On top of that, we’re emerging from a pandemic, where the whole church is trying to work out how to beautifully and safely express itself during these passionate days of praise and remembrance and betrayal and grief and terror and amazement.

First time jitters. Building up stamina. Pandemic uncertainties. What is a new PIC to do?

I’m counting my blessings.

The first blessing is that I delight in everything about Holy Week. The Great Story of course. And the traditional and creative ways we celebrate its liturgies. With delight comes energy.

Then there’s the blessing of my congregation and its leadership team. They remember the Holy Weeks of yore. Before Covid, and long before Covid. And, they are open to anticipating how we might be invited to walk with Jesus now. Together, we’re assembling a week that seeks to honor the past, pays attention to the evolving health situation, and begins to imagine who we may become as a worshipping Eucharistic community.

I also feel blessed with the knowledge that the Holy Spirit is our worship leader. Typos will remain in the service bulletins. Stuff will get messed up. And, I can only do so much, one day at a time.

What has been done has been done;

what has not been done has not been done;

let it be. (ANZPB, p. 184)

We bring our yearning, our sighs and our love – the Spirit perfects it.

I am blessed, we all are blessed, with a leadership that encourages us to take care of ourselves. For me, that means patience and prayer, dwelling in the Scriptures, leaning on the support of others, healthy food, rest and exercise. Far from perfectly, but enough.

Our greatest blessing is that it is Jesus Christ in us that empowers us to serve and glorify the one God we praise. With his help, may we all have an amazing Holy Week.

In Christ,

Stephen+

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