Sunday, 24 March 2013

Holy, Holy Week!!

After a great Palm Sunday Service, I find my mind wandering as I drive home from church... here's where it wandered.

Holy Week.
Yes, it is… Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil, Easter Morning… it’s going to be something.  
But Holy?
What do we mean by Holy?

Growing up, holy always meant "special"... something you covered in plastic, like a Holy Relic, or Nana's furniture... something you couldn't really explain, you just knew... something that is beyond language… often something that we keep to ourselves.  (Shhhh… it’s Holy!  Don’t talk about it!)

I think of friends who were NOT allowed to read the Bible while going to the bathroom because the Bible is Holy.  (Apparently, this was a big thing for teenagers to do… sneak into the bathroom with a King James and read!!   Bobby, what are you doing in there???  You’d better not be reading Holy Scripture!!) 

I remember parts of churches and temples that the “Public” are not supposed to access (Not, here… it’s Holy!)    

So, Holy is special… but I never thought of my girlfriends as Holy (if we did date decades ago, I did respect you and thought you were special… just not “Holy”  I mean, that really doesn't sound like much fun).  Holy seems to be something that we strive to obscure; even keep away from others.   Ask yourself, why do we call it Good Friday?  Do you know?  If someone asks, do you have an answer?…. Or are you more likely to tell them that if they don’t understand, than they never will?  (yes, Ross Lockhart did explain it in last Month’s United Church Observer, but how many of us are that smart??)   
How about Maundy Thursday?  Do you know we call it that?   Is it really what the Mamas and the Papas were singing about in the 60s? (Maundy, Maundy, so good to me… Maundy, Maundy, it was all I hoped it would be…) 

Holy seems to mean something that we keep to ourselves and something that is confusing to outsiders.
But surely that’s not what Jesus meant by Holy.

This week I’m imagining Holy to mean broken open.  Like Jesus at the Last Supper, breaking open his body – literally, figuratively, metaphorically – and making it Holy.  Breaking open that we might receive, breaking it open that we might understand, breaking it open so that we might be included… the opposite of what we often do with “Holy”.    What if Holy Week was a week of 2 billion Christians being open to each other and the world?  Open to loving who we love, regardless of local customs; open to engaging with others no matter what the community at large might consider “proper”… open to not knowing some things, feeling other things and daring to share our special, secret traditions… open, if it might hurt… open, even if we might look foolish…  Open, like Jesus, not elevated like the Holy of Holies; but broken open to the world, willing to pour ourselves out for others.  
Imagine what kind of Holy Week we could have….

It’d sure be different… and just maybe, what we all need right about now. 

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