what a week
3 simple words that say so much and so little
Punctuation changes everything.
What a week…
What a week!
Inflection tells a story.
(sigh. quietly.) What a week.
(speaking quickly with excitement) What a week.
(spoken with bitterness, almost biting the words) What a week.
Body language speaks volumes.
(With shoulders slumped) What a week.
(With eyes wide and smile even more-so) What a week.
(With jaw set and eyes filling with tears) What a week.
Three little words to capture something so large. But I suppose they are, at the least, a place to begin describing a week that is quite possibly beyond words. I think about that as we’ve just celebrated Easter, Resurrection day, and thereby concluded Holy Week, oh, what a week.
Imagine the disciples trying to capture the week in words. Holy Week, what a week! Starting Palm Sunday with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Monday Jesus cleanses the temple. Fast forward to Thursday with the Passover meal, instituting the Lord’s Supper, washing the disciples’ feet, the garden of Gethsemane, Judas’ betrayal and Jesus arrest. Friday filled with trials, fear, torture, and death… And then comes Resurrection Sunday.
What a week…
I imagine that,when living through Monday, the disciples couldn’t imagine the desperation of Friday. Come the depths of Friday I could see how it’d be near impossible to fathom the elation of Sunday.
Holy Week gives us a raw, real, and tangible insight into God at work, not just for the disciples, in our lives too. Holy Week in scripture gives us a total picture that any one part on its own does not provide. A picture, that when living through one day, might leave us struggling to see that “Sunday’s a comin'”
But it did and it does.
So often we want the Jesus of Palm Sunday: triumphant, every detail of his plan coming together in a perfect way that we can see and every piece used for a purpose we can understand. We want Jesus of Monday who stepped forward with authority and set the temple in order, putting things right, coming in like the lion. We want the Jesus of Tuesday and Wednesday who lives life right beside us, caring for us, close and speaking right to us. We want the Jesus of Thursday who teaches us, touches our lives, and calls us to be at the table.
But when he becomes the lamb we get a little confused, scared maybe, seeing him full of anguish, betrayed, and being arrested… And then Friday comes, Jesus submits, he doesn’t fight an unjust trial, convicted he is tortured and he dies. And Saturday comes and God is seemingly quiet. And in those times, well to be honest, we don’t like those days. But they are a reality, both for the disciples and for us. They were a part of God’s plan in love, mercy, grace and salvation.
It doesn’t stop now that Holy Week is done and our once a year remembrance of such has passed. Do days like those in our lives serve a purpose we can’t see? Is God moving pieces in the here and now in ways we cannot imagine? How does it change the experience of life to know “Sunday’s a comin’?”
See… ’cause we know that of the Holy Week, scripture gives account of the days, we know the theology, we’ve been shown the fulfillment of prophecy, we can see the perfection of events… we KNOW the existence of Sunday. We know the end so we can see the purpose in each day leading up…
How about in our lives? What does it do to remember when you are knee deep in struggles or barely keeping your head above water… what does it do when you are in one of those weeks (hours, days, months, years) to know that Sunday’s a comin’?
Sunday, not just a day of the week but Sunday as it represents the fulfillment of God’s perfection, plan and purpose in your life… Sunday.is.coming. Though you can’t see it, though you can’t imagine how, even when you don’t know how the pieces will fit. Sunday.is.coming.
Knowing that “Sunday” is coming allows you to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” because you know even when you cannot see, even when you cannot fathom how this turns for the good… God does. So you lean on Him, you let the Lord guide you, and allow the Father to care for you.
Knowing that “Sunday” is coming enables you to respond like Joseph to his brothers, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…” Because, just like Joseph, you can see that God works all things to good, even the “bad.” Joseph (I’m always blown away by this) lived for more than 20 years between his dream and its’ fulfillment. More.than.20.years. And to top it off, not only 20 years, but years of betrayal, slavery, mistreatment, being jailed… not “good stuff!” But even in all that bad he could see God’s perfect and good purpose.
Knowing that “Sunday” is coming allowed the writer of Hebrews to say of the saints of the faith who came before, “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar.” Because even when the promise doesn’t arrive, faith in the God of “Sundays” allows us to trust and live faithful lives.
Life is not filled with only the Palm Sundays and Mondays of Holy Week but also the Thursday nights, Fridays and Saturdays too. But we live with the hope, the promise that Sunday is coming!
Oh Lord- for those living in times I’d call “what.a.week,” surround them with your comfort, fill them with hope that strengthens perseverance, and grow their love and trust of you. No matter our circumstances may we lean on you as you sustain us. No matter the day may we trust in you alone knowing you work to our good not only in the good times, not only in the times that make sense but also in the bad/hard/tough/hopeless/crushing moments. No matter what the day looks like help us to cling to the truth that “Sunday” is coming- you are the conqueror, redeemer, savior and in all you are our source of joy unlimited, hope beyond measure, and new life beyond imagining! Amen.