Holy Week has always lined up with my children’s spring break. As a pastor, this means that while others fly, drive, retreat out and away for the week, we stay put and tackle larger-scale events and services second only to Christmas week. This has been my rhythm for most of my working life as a pastor. Easter and Christmas are fueled with extras. Extra events, extra meals, extra church, extra sugar for all! When my children were younger, and we worked at a church with lots of extras, and I tried my hardest to create a sense of normalcy. This was mostly fueled by fear that my kids would grow up resenting church life and wanted to give them the “same” as everyone else. Every pastor has to deal with the typecasting of raising pastor’s kids who spurn their spirituality, grow out their hairs and join a rock band. To the best of our ability, we’ve worked through our parenting issues when it comes to our work.
But, I have been thinking about all the extras that still remain for us all this holy week. The extra strain and stress of an incomplete pandemic and the injustice and cruelty scorned towards black and brown and LGBTQ bodies. The extra work of seeking a vaccination for yourself and loved ones, with a side of mental gymnastics about why some choose to not get vaccinated. And that spring break trip you decided to take, or defer again, and all those travel feelings? What are we to do with all these extras?
There aren’t enough Cadbury eggs or vodka tonics to cover over these complex and taxing extras. They are temporary bandaids for bigger wounds.
Here are a few things to linger on as you continue into your Easter weekend. Remember that you are good and beautiful just as you are. Remember that injustice and empire hung Jesus on the cross, not your sin. Remember that grief, pain, and the desire to live are all parts of a flourishing life. We will remember that we all go down into the grave and that our human bodies will return to dust. We will find hope, peace, or steadiness in the joy of Easter. As we kick around the yard and see green things appear from under the brown leaves, we can remember that out of death and dust comes life. Church, be reminded that our work on earth is to flourish and seek flourishing for all people right now.
May you find peace with your extras this weekend.
May you see the joy growing around you.