Perplexed. Terrified. Amazed. These words from Luke’s account of the resurrection remind us that the road we walk this holiest of weeks is not to be domesticated. Oh, we try, we follow the well-worn paths of liturgical customs, we carefully plan and prepare and practice, and we think we have got this annual exploration of suffering, death, and resurrection all figured out. We connect this amazing story to the natural cycles of winter turning into spring, of new life breaking forth after months of darkness and cold, but this story is not natural, the resurrection is not predictable, and God will not be tamed.
The promise of new life that waits for us at the end of this week, at the end of our days, is something that I believe will shock, surprise, and startle us. It will remind us that we belong to a God whose love breaks through our well-worn habits and our comfortable patterns, it will be for us a breath of air when we believed our lungs were spent; it will be a message of grace when we were convinced that we didn’t deserve it; it will be a possibility of love when our hearts felt just too broken.
I pray that, as we travel the familiar liturgical path of these coming days, tasting and singing and praying and waiting, we will welcome the unexpected, make way for the unbelievable, and simply accept the surprising grace that we cannot predict, control, or deserve. New life is coming; there’s just no stopping it.
A blessed Holy Week to you all,
Bishop Paul D. Erickson