Most people call this week Holy Week, though pastors often jokingly refer to it as “hell week.” It can be stressful to prepare and lead all those special services. It also can be terribly frustrating to spend hours and hours preparing and have only a handful of people attend.
Holy Week used to be a time of intense spiritual devotion in the church, a time when people took their faith the most seriously, moving toward Good Friday, arguably the holiest day of the year. Today that seems to be asking too much. We want quick fixes and instant resolutions. Who has time for yeast to rise or seeds to sprout? Well, yes, apparently God does.
Jesus used both of those as examples of what the Realm of God is really like. Time is the missing ingredient for most of us. We invest it at work, and in relationships, and even at play, but somehow our spiritual life is lucky to get an hour a week. Nothing is more optional or dispensable than the time we invest working on our relationship with God and on what our soul is becoming.
Many people try fasting during Holy Week. It is a good practice because it isn’t something we can do for long. Our bodies need food, and food is a wonderful gift of life. Giving it up for a little while is a good thing, though, because it reminds us of how little we actually control about life and how much we take for granted. It also reminds us of what is happening to our souls when we go without nourishment. We get grumpy if we miss a meal, but we will go days or weeks without prayer or worship or connecting to the Source of Life.
Holy week should be a time of spiritual intensity. Like fasting, it probably can’t be sustained for long. The question is can it be sustained at all?
Rev. Mike Piazza