A MAJOR CHALLENGE of Lent is this: how should we wait? Our culture demands that everything happen instantly. Lent requires a different kind of clock, one synchronized to Kairos, or God's time; open to the working of the Spirit.
In the dramatic emotional swings of Holy Week we find ourselves in a kind of twilight zone, both knowing what awaits our Lord and not wanting to know what will happen, of wanting to fast forward from Palm Sunday to Easter morning. If only we could avoid the pain of betrayal and the horror of the crucifixion, the agonizing sense of loss felt by the followers and friends of Jesus.
Time weighs heavily. After Palm Sunday comes ... three days of waiting? Our culture says: cut to the chase. Our Church says: prepare your spirit for a long, slow walk from the darkness to the light. Holy Week is a time to slow down and to listen.
Listen to the sounds of this week. You hear the sounds in Scripture and in worship, in our prayers joined with those of other people throughout the world. Listen to the voice of the Church.
Many of us know anxious waiting when we have no idea what to expect. As we meditate on the fourteen Stations of the Cross, we are forced to see once more the suffering of our Lord and to hear his anguished cries from the cross.
In George Herbert's "The Sacrifice" (1633), Jesus asks, "was ever grief like mine?" Hear the anguish now of all who suffer, of all who are persecuted.
But to dwell only on anxious waiting is to miss the other sounds of Holy Week. When we walk the fourteen Stations of the Cross, we meditate on the suffering of the Messiah. The jubilant cries of the crowd as Jesus rides into Jerusalem turn into a furious roar a few days later when they demand freedom for Barabbas and death for Jesus. And yet we know that the fifteenth station awaits us.
The noisy movement from gaudy civic spectacle to the deep silence of the tomb is part of the story, but we also hear the muffled cries of private joy and wonder on Easter morning.
This is the time for eyewitnesses. This is the time for those who see and hear him again to share their experience of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen.
This is the time.