The Arc of Holy Time
It seems like time just keeps going by faster and faster. My oldest friend told me, when she was in her 92nd year (and I was in my 20th), that “time just goes faster and faster when you get to be my age. There are days I feel like I’m on a merry-go-round that has gone out of control!”
Altha was a dear, faithful friend. I got to know her through doing an oral history for a senior class project of her life growing up on the plains in the first two decades of the 20th century. She was an angelic presence in the church of my youth, and I miss her kindness, salt-of-the-earth straight talk, and the brightness of her presence. It hardly seems like 20 years since she died. The time has gone so quickly. Sometimes it does indeed feel like a merry-go-round gone out of control.
I can’t help but think that feeling of time during that last, momentous, awful, miraculous week in Jesus’s earthly life was a bit like that. I see the foal that Jesus rode into Jerusalem as a character on the out-of-control merry-go-round of adulation, communion, betrayal, conflict, degradation, thirst, desolation, execution, and resurrection from the dead. This was a week of lightning-fast changes next to those moments where seconds seem to take forever, like a stop-action movie at the moment of a car accident or other violent event, or a moment of surprise.
It’s hard to find the time to process all of these Holy Week events. We remember them every year, and yet they are here and gone. And before we know it, Holy Week is back again. And then gone again. Where is the pause button for our life of faith?!
I’ve been taking a few moments of silence after my sermon as part of a Lenten discipline for worship. It is something I wish to continue after Lent is over. Sound and time are related. Time slows down in silence, as it slows down around violence, as it slows down around surprise.
In these days before, during, and after Holy Week this year, take some intentional time in silence each day if you are able, even if it is just a couple minutes. Ask yourself how fast or slow that time felt. In some of those moments, think on a moment from Jesus’s week of trials and exultations. See echoes of it in our worship together. “For God alone my soul in silence waits” (Psalm 62:1). Hear the silence of Christ on the cross, of the moment before he is discovered risen from the dead, of the moment before the rooster crows, of the moment before the betrayal, of the moment in the garden before Jesus prays. All of these are holy moments, made of holy time.
In Christ’s loving peace,