As we walk through Holy Week 2020, we’re taking time to consider what it will mean to celebrate Easter while we’re unable to gather with others. To read Monday’s post, which kicked off this theme, click here.
After college I spent a year traveling the world as a short-term international missionary. While a year might not sound like “short-term”, I use that phrasing, because we weren’t actually in any one place very long. We would arrive to a location to partner with an existing ministry, serve what they were doing for a few weeks, and then move on to another location. This year of traveling and serving after college was a formative experience for me that still shapes how I do ministry today. But it wasn’t always fun.
Working with different ministry hosts every month meant that we were constantly adjusting to different ways of working and living. One discomfort to which I had to adjust was a seemingly constant lack of information about what we were doing or how our day was going to be structured. We might begin “house-to-house” ministry in the desert at 9am not knowing what the plan was for lunch, if and when we might refill our water, or when the day was going to end. Or we might be in the midst of a 30-hour travel day, stuck on a 10-hour bus ride through the wilderness with no bearings on where we were or where we were going.
To deal with this difficult dynamic, I developed a mantra I could use to help myself get through unpredictable days. I would say to myself, “we’re here until we’re not”. Saying this to myself was a way of commanding my mind not to run ahead. It was a way to avoid being constantly worried about “what next?!” And I found that this intentional shift in mindset helped me to remain more present in the moment. It helped to make me available for what God was doing at the time. With this one simple shift in mindset, I was able to learn more than if I had been moving through the day just looking for when the next break would come.
Stuck in the Tomb
The Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday can be an eerie kind of quiet. When we started Wellspring church a few years ago, we decided not to do anything on Easter Saturday because I think this eerie kind of quiet is helpful for experiencing the full walk of Holy Week.
There must have been a lot of anxious wondering on that first Easter Saturday. Jesus was freshly laid in the tomb, the movement that the disciples thought they were a part of hadn’t even gotten off the ground, and now their leader was dead and buried.
It must have been quiet. All the hopes and dreams of the people who were touched by Jesus were stuck in a tomb and they were left with…what?
I wonder if they were planning. I wonder if they were anxious to move one. Or I wonder if they were simply in it. They weren’t knowing what to hope for and what to plan for. They were simply there. They were there until they weren’t.
We’re Stuck in a Moment
This year, Holy Week 2020, we all find ourselves stuck in a moment. Many of us tend to say, “I can’t wait until things are back to normal”; knowing full well that what we call “normal” right now is long gone, never to return. We can’t wait to throw dinner parties (even though we weren’t before) or host game nights (though our board games are collecting dust) or walk across the street to greet our neighbors (even though we don’t know their names). We’re anxious for a future we don’t know anything about. Our minds are racing ahead to what comes next.
But what about what God is doing right now, right here. This moment may not be fun, or lavish, or exciting. But it’s the moment for which we’ve been created. This is the time in which we live. Let’s not run past it because we can’t see clearly what God is doing. Let’s embrace today and let things unfold. Tomorrow, everything could change. But today, we’re here until we’re not.