Holy Week is upon us, a week that means different things to different people. Some observe the week day by day, taking in the story of the Passion, reflecting on its elements, refusing to blink at its pain.
Others gloss over the week on the way to Easter, anxious to have something to celebrate, to feel good about. Many others are somewhere in the middle of this time in-between, officially spring, but not yet unlike winter.
The news is filled with stories of unimaginable tragedy, such as yet another bombing, this one in the Brussels airport and Metro station. The people of the United States are not sure how they feel about any of the presidential candidates, and some wonder how we ever got to this place in time. And yet, Holy Week surrounds us, challenging us to look within ourselves to see what difference, if any, our Christian faith makes in our lives as we deal with life's realities.
More and more young adults, the primary audience with whom I work, are abandoning their Christian faith because they do not see its relevance, and question why they have to attend church to be a Christian.
Somewhere along the line, someone failed to help them see the radical message of the faith, to the point that, when they find themselves filled with questions and doubts, their faith does not seem to offer helpful answers and direction. I know some of them will come back to the faith in time, for maturity does bring with it wisdom. But for others, the door has already closed, and they seek out another way, a more helpful answer. For those of us who still claim to be rooted in the Christian faith, this week provides for us a key to unlocking some of the answers to how we live in troubled times.
It does not ask that we mouth platitudes about life after death, as if visions of Heaven take care of the difficulties here and now. Our faith does not even require that we understand fully the message of Holy Week, and I mean the FULL week: controversy, betrayal, pain, death and resurrection. The latter does not erase the former, but it does give us a context for understanding that the powers, whatever we conceive them to be, do not have the last word.
That is the message I try to convey to the young adults who tend to want immediate answers to difficult questions. That is, I believe the true message of Holy Week: God has the final word, in this world, not just in the next. In that truth I find great comfort and the basis for my Christian faith. I hope it does the same for you. God bless you as your journey on this week.