Waiting. Keeping watch. In the hours and minutes and moments of his dying, breathing with him, breathing for him, every breath catching in your throat and rattling through your breaking heart, wondering if it is the last.
The final intake, the final release. You hold your own breath in an agony of waiting, watching to see if another will follow. But nothing comes, and you know. Not relief but recognition of the release that has taken place. If the door to life and healing cannot be opened, then at least his struggle has ended; he has moved beyond the possibility of pain.
Today we stand in the place of dying, the place of devastation. We stand with those who have come to bear witness, who have not turned away, who watch and wait with Jesus. Today we stand where life is coming to a horrendous end. We stand where breath—the pneuma, the living Spirit—is leaving.
On this day, can we believe there is anything beyond this? Can we believe there is anything good ahead of us, that life still waits for us?
Perhaps this is not a day for belief. Perhaps we are not meant to rush toward what we hope and pray lies ahead. Perhaps the invitation now is simply to let ourselves feel the loss. To grieve what has gone. To lift our voices in lament.
In this place, I ask you, is there some space of desolation within or beyond you that is present today—a place where something has come to a heartrending end? How would it be for you to be present to this loss, to offer lament, to let yourself breathe, to know in your bones you do not breathe alone?
In this place, in this parting, in this pain, may we know the love of Christ. Still.
This week’s readings take us through the depths but then into the eternal light. We walk each step with Jesus, who suffers betrayal, abandonment, and death in our place. But it is more than that. He also enters into the brokenness of our human condition and feels our pain, such that on the cross he even feels abandonment by God. He walks through the valley of the shadow of death because of God’s amazing, reckless love for us. This is the power of Holy Week. But that is not the end of the story. Jesus’ steps do not end at the cross, for he walks out of the tomb! Now we can follow in his steps and participate in his new life. He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
• Read Psalm 70. What help do you need from God? from others?
• Read Isaiah 42:1-9. Where do you see signs of God’s work in the arena of justice? Where does Creation provide signs of restoration?
• Read John 12:20-36. As you ponder the reign of God in your midst, what images call to your mind God’s presence?
• Read John 20:1-18. When have you, in love, released the life expected in order to take up the life God intends for you?
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