For this year’s Lenten Guide, each member of the Council staff chose a verse from a favorite hymn to write about. We will post their reflections throughout Lent, for Ash Wednesday, each Sunday, and throughout Holy Week.
Christ is alive! His spirit burns through this and every future age,
till all creation lives and learns his joy, his justice, love, and praise.
“Christ is Alive! Let Christians Sing” — Hymnal 1982 (Episcopal Church) #182
In my faith tradition, the clergy process in after the choir at the start of every service, and then they follow the choir out as worship ends. Some years ago, I noticed that the clergy who walked in at the beginning of Easter Sunday seemed different than those who stood at the back of the church as the Alleluias were reclaimed.
They were, at the end of things, almost physically lighter. Energized, maybe. Or just relieved. Holy Week is no professional walk in the park – either in its schedule or depth of meaning. Lent, as a whole, must be 40 of the hardest days a clergy person has to navigate. You know what’s coming. You know it has to happen. No matter how you rationalize it, the brutality of Golgotha awaits.
And then, you get to the other side, which perhaps feels like a spiritual resurrection of sorts. The horrible thing has transpired resulting in a miracle; the prophecy has been fulfilled.
Recent months have felt like an endless Lent to some of us. Forty days, even when you know what’s coming, at least is finite. Right now, we feel trapped in an infinite cycle of hate, hurt, and endless hostility.
Christmas was hard, but it was still veiled in anticipation. Easter is framed in a reality that has not gone well.
For those who suggest it’s time to move on, honestly, I don’t know how. But what I have promised others, what I have preached to myself in my deepest doubt, the hymn that I sing when I feel like crying is that something good will (must) come of this. There are too many people who believe in justice and love to let all that we’ve worked for die here.
The one we follow is a maker of miracles, and so, in this time, we must be, too. We must be vigilant and diligent, holding each other up even as we continue the work. We will reach the other side of this and appreciate even more what we have gained. We will be wiser, kinder, and more committed.
Let that be our resurrection, our song of praise.