April 6, 2023
Holy Week is an interesting time for pastors.
A pastor friend of mine posted a link to Facebook giving a pastor’s survival guide to Holy Week. It’s a helpful list of ways to stay sane in a week that is both exhausting and exhilarating. Take some time off, keep a list of things you wish you had done for next year, go to the liquor store ahead of Sunday…
But the one that I’ve been wrestling with as the week unfolds is the final piece of advice:
It is Thursday night. You have just handed Jesus over to the authorities, and you know that tomorrow, [stuff] is gonna go DOWN. You will go down into the depths with your people—into the certainty of death and human suffering; into the mess of our everyday lives and relationships, into the horror of local and global violence, into the shame of poverty… there is nothing to do but slog through it. And MEANWHILE, you are supposed to be working on an Easter sermon. (Which, of course, needs to be the best sermon that anyone has ever preached, ever). From the darkest day in human history to the day humanity glimpsed heaven on earth—the work of holding all these parts of the story at the same time is pure emotional labor. No help for it.
How does one write about the resurrection before anyone has even died?
How do we think about the good news before the bad news?
How do we anticipate life when we’re still anticipating death?
But in a lot of ways, this is the central tension of our entire journey of faith.
Because even after Easter, there is still death. Even after the resurrection we still see the ways in which our sins and evils bring pain and suffering. Even after we hear the promise of life we are still exposed to the realities of the world.
The tension of writing an Easter sermon during Holy Week is the same (if not heightened) tension that exists every day. We have to live into this tension, because that is the only way we can process the incredible gulf between the world that is and the kingdom that is promised. Seeing this tension should make us frustrated, angry, and confused. It should also make us hungry for righteousness and justice. Knowing that there is an Easter promise on the other side of Holy Week, that there is an Easter promise on the other side of everything, should convict us to do everything we can to make every day just a bit more like Easter.
I hope your Holy Week is going well. I hope you are finding yourself in the midst of this tension. I hope you are planning your meals, dyeing your eggs, putting out your carrots. We make these plans because we know what comes after Holy Week. We make these plans in the confidence that what we are experiencing in this week gives way to the release of new life.
Rev. Jeff Fox-Kline
We welcome you to join us this Easter Sunday as we gather in worship in the sanctuary at 10:00 a.m.! Twelve Corners Presbyterian Church is located at 1200 S. Winton Road in Brighton, NY. For those who would like to join us virtually, we invite you to visit our YouTube channel. If you have any questions, please call at 585-244-8585 or send an email through our secure contact page.