So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. –Ephesians 4:25, NRSV
Yet, Holy Week does not offer an invitation to ease the pain, but to enter it. We are invited to enter the heart of suffering and pray our own agonizing Gethsemane prayers: Where are you, God? And, why God? And, how could this happen? Can’t it be another way? What possible spiritual wisdom could reside in the yearly journey into this uncomfortable place?
We have spent the season of Lent practicing restraint in the desert, stripping ourselves of unnecessary baggage, assessing our idols and illusions. Holy Week is the culminating moment of this wilderness season of the spiritual life. It is the time for whatever is false that remains in us to show its face before what is most true. In An Altar in the World, Barbara Brown Taylor asserts that even pain and suffering can be a spiritual practice because they force us to confront what isn’t real. “Pain strips away all the illusions required to maintain the status quo… Pain is so real that less-real things like who you thought you were and how you meant to act vanish like drops of water flung on a hot stove.” –Katie Harmon-McLaughlin, Holy Week: To Enter the Suffering
- When have you experienced difficult moments in life as a time to focus on what is most real and true?
- What “Gethsemane prayers” have you uttered? What spiritual wisdom have you discovered in these moments?
- Prayerfully dwell with Ephesians 4:25. What is God’s invitation to you in this text?