Holy Week

It is not Holy Week without

the heralds shouting hosannas and hallelujahs

without beginning

with an imagination that all is well,

will be well,

that the Messiah is come.

Holy Week involves the turn

from joy to lament

from hosanna to horror

from orientation to disorientation

imagined triumph to witnessed terrors

we sing and celebrate

our feet are washed

our passover transformed

we fall asleep while our saviour weeps alone

we deny even knowing him

even as we have imagined ruling with him

Holy Week reminds us that we have no imagination

for what might be

what will come

the pathways we’d never choose

Holy Week reminds us

in the great disorientations of our own lives

to wait in the darkness

for a dawn that transforms

———-

It’s been a while but I am on the other side of my thesis, on the other side of poetry written for a specific purpose. I am back to the shallow ground that has hardened from neglect. Looking to find my way back.

I am so taken with this turn from the triumphant start of Holy Week – the Palm Sunday hosannas, to a total disorientation, when everything is confused and makes no sense. How much this week encapsulates what it is to be a person on a faith journey where the one you follow refuses to give you all the powerful happy endings you think the story requires.

Holy Week reminds me of the women who set out in the dark – not with any hope for a different narrative, disoriented in grief and were offered a complete reorientation. It feels like a worthy meditation for this season.

Miriam Jessie x

Led Reflection – Easter Saturday Vigil

Culturally I feel like I am ill equipped for grief. Grief and death are events to be wrapped by professionals and delivered in a short period of time before everyone is encouraged to get on with it.

I look at some of the beautiful cultures around me and how they enter into grief and death, how they sit in ashes (metaphorically) and how their community of loved ones enters with them.

This Easter I am trying to hold space for the grief of Saturday better. To not avoid the grief but to be present to it and in doing so to be more human.

These strange times we find ourselves in confront us with many emotions that have been able to be ignored in our usual busyness.

Below is a reflection to participate in – holding space for grief and for Jesus on this Easter Saturday.

Led Reflection – Good Friday

I am always undone by Good Friday.  Every year there seems to be something new to engage with and explore.

I pray this reflection will help you to come to the cross again with a new sense of holy awe and wonder.

May we never rush past what Jesus did for us and for the cosmos.

Led Reflections – Maundy Thursday

In their final evening together Jesus knelt before his friends and washed their feet. Though he was about to go to the cross he still loved and served his friends. May we too have strength to love those near to us in these difficult days.

A quiet meditation for Maundy Thursday.

Lead Prayers – Mary Anoints Jesus

This Holy Week I’ve recorded some reflections for people to participate with. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday I’m going to post one here each day for the next 4 days.

Each one features prayer, scripture and poetry or story and are accompanied by images by dear artist friends. They are about 20minutes long.

They are designed to be done in silence and reflection and could be integrated into your prayer practice. If you are new to reflective practice I encourage you to find a quiet space free from distractions and see it as a new way of praying. The music quality in this one is not great so maybe have a song cued that you can listen to during that part.

They are not without (many) imperfections. However, I hope that they might help in leaning into the days of this most Holy Week in these strangest of times.

Holy Week

A couple of years ago I did the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius with my spiritual director. I found as I set out on the journey to the cross that I didn’t want to walk with Jesus to the cross. I just wanted to be there on Sunday. It is something in me that still needs changing – this ability to enter lament, to be present to pain. May we all have courage to allow ourselves to enter pain and to receive love even there.

Miriam x

IMG_3865

 

I don’t want to walk with you to the cross

don’t want to pass the jeering crowd

or be present to the lonely abyss of Gethsemane

 

I want to stand on Sunday’s horizon

and say

it’s okay Jesus

            look resurrection will come

 

So, like the crowd I condemn

and the disciples I judge

I abandon you

on your walk to the cross

 

I leave you alone

so alone

human man

acquainted with suffering and grief

 

I really just want

the resurrection power

the triumph of the lamb

the roar of the lion

 

so I climb up to my privileged position

and wait at the dawn of Sunday

ready to sing my alleluias

where a stone is rolled away

 

and as I abandon you

I acknowledge I have abandoned others

on their difficult journeys through

death’s valley

preferring to whisper hope

from resurrection’s empty tomb

 

instead of being empty accompaniment

into the cave

where death seems

to have the victory

 

I am afraid of accompanying you

and afraid of accompanying others

I am a broken disciple

 

would you hold this unfaithful

uncomfortable hand in yours

as I attempt not to run away

 

to hold the course for

Gethsemane

Golgotha

and

tomb

 

for as long as my small strength holds on

Resurrection Sunday

It is the day

for earthquakes that

remove stones that

contained the dead

 

It is the day

to hear the words

Why look for the living

among the dead?

 

The day when angels speak

and mortals quake in silence

shedding their mortality

unlocked and free

 

It is the day to hear your name

on the lips

of the

Resurrected Saviour

 

A day to be embraced

but not to cling

clinging is for the ones

who have something to lose

 

Today is the day

when what is poured out can no longer

be contained:

to time

to location

to a people group

to a gender

to an age

 

Today good news for all people breaks in and announces:

HE IS RISEN

rose stained glass

May your Easter Sunday be filled with joy that cannot be contained, life that knows no limits, the embrace of the One who died to set you free. Miriam x