For many people around the world this week is Holy Week. I know enough Christian theology and I am liturgically aware enough to know what this means. But to say that I know what it means is not to say I know what it means for any specific person. For some it probably has been a deeply moving week, as we head into Good Friday. For others likely it has been pretty superficial, at best.
I ponder how it might continue to have possibilities of being a “holy week” for you and me. One necessary ingredient I would be pretty sure is needed for it to be “holy” is that we take time. This reminds me of the old hymn I heard so many times: “Take Time to be Holy.” I know as a kid when I sang it, I paid little attention to the words and probably even less to what the hymn meant. Maybe now is to take some time and reflect…to be holy.
Another practical guide for learning the art of the holy is to “pay attention.” Increasingly, it seems, we live in a world that pays little or no attention to the sacredness of our surroundings. Even the season of spring is the miraculous coming to life again of God’s good, sacred world.
Green is the color of spring. Green is the color of life springing back into the grass. Take a drive and notice the vibrant green which is just emerging in the country fields in my geographical world. Watch the trees spring back to life with budding leaves. Easter is all around us, if we only pay attention.
Spirituality is the way to discover the life of Easter in what, otherwise, may be merely an experience in emptiness. To pursue the theme of spring, we read these words from Thomas Moore’s Care of the Soul. “Spirituality is seeded, germinates, sprouts and blossoms in the mundane. It is to be found and nurtured in the smallest of daily activities.”
The discovery and nurture of the “spirituality of Easter” comes as we pay attention. Paying attention means we are alert. We are interested. We want to be engaged. We are willing to listen. We are willing to learn---to be open, to risk, to move.
With our modern cars most of us drive around all insulated from the world with windows up. Not only are we insulated, but also now we are talking on cell phones. And it is not unusual to have the radio playing or occasionally a TV show on! How can we pay attention to a meaningful conversation, drive, and enjoy God’s sacred world at once? I can’t.
Maybe this driving scene symbolizes normal life, non-holy life. Easter-living might mean getting out of our “cars of life,” hanging up on the unimportant conversations in life, and opening our eyes to the sacred which doubtlessly surrounds us. But too often, we don’t know it and, therefore, cannot appreciate it.
In this season of Passover and Easter, the stories are that God did a new thing. May we be open to that same God doing a new thing in our lives.