Monday, April 6, 2009
The holiest week of the Christian year is here. We have come to think of it as something of a roodscreen built into the church calendar. The events of Holy Week are tender, violent, confusing, inspiring, devastating and utterly necessary. Without them, we will not reach Easter, and without Easter, our religion is less than a sham. So to reach the resurrection, we will gladly and seriously gaze through whatever is on the way to it: crucifixion of the innocent Lord of Love, a full week of church ceremonies whose intricacies boggle the mind, a persistent disappointment that this all must happen again each year, and screens with the holy rood mounted above them. The church year, and our church building, give us these truths over and over again. The message seems to be that our desire for immediate knowledge and gratification must be tempered from time to time, whether it is by a built-in delay or a slight hiding of what it is we want to see.
Like the shepherds whose words begin the gospel story, we say to one another 'Let us go and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.' We want to see the miracle God has promised, the miracle we have seen afresh each Easter Even, and for which forty days of Lent have now sharpened our vision. We will see it in the near term, but not without passing through and under the Rood. This is as it should be, as it must be, and as it will be.
See you next week, on the other side of the screen.
Photo: Anglicans Online