Friday, March 18, 2016
I feel faintly embarrassed every year at this time of year, out of sync, and like I'm doing something wrong.
Here we are, just a stone's throw away from Holy Week, and I'm not even faintly stressed out at the prospect. Oh, sure, it's a little busier. I'm at church a little more.
We have a little meal on Maundy Thursday, one where we sing and pray, bread bread and share the cup. And we share table together. But it's not particularly complicated. You pick up some loaves of tasty challah, and some Trader Joe's soup. You sing a capella. That's about that.
There's a wonderful lay-led event at my little church for Good Friday, as the story of the Passion is retold. I show up, and I worship, and I let others lead because that's just what we do.
On Easter, I get up at 4 AM so I can get to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain in time to join with other pastors to lead the multi-church sunrise service. That's early, sure, but that's why the Good Lord made coffee plants. It's beautiful, valuable, and significant. And then there's a brunch, and kids scamper around. Then we worship and it's awesome.
It's busier. But it's entirely manageable. I kind of look forward to it, theologically, personally, and spiritually.
That is not what I hear from my colleagues. It's red alert panic mode for many, as sixty to seventy hour church weeks and overpacked family lives collide with a blinding flurry of additional Holy Week demands. It's the liturgical perfect storm.
When I hear the war stories, I'm abashed. I can't contribute. I feel I can't even speak. "Oh, yeah, I'm totally chill. Looking forward to it! Not a big deal."
It feels...invalidating. A little subversive. Perhaps a little annoying.
But then again, perhaps it's worth saying. Because as much as work-stress might feel like you're being flogged, crucified, and dying, an organizational reenactment of the Passion, I'm reasonably certain that's not a healthy spiritual place for pastors. Or for Beloved Communities.