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Holy Week Wellness

New life can emerge from grief
by Catherine Malotky | March 29, 2021

For those who live within the rhythm of the church year, we have entered Holy Week, and have heard again the familiar words of the story of Jesus’ passion. We stopped short, of course, honoring the story and the calendar, waiting one week more until we can finish the story and celebrate the joy of Easter in full voice.

We have spent these past weeks of Lent reflecting on our lives and our earnest desire to be faithful to this foundational truth of the Gospel that from every kind of death, however painful, fleeting, or profound, there will be a day when we again know new life, joy, hope, and even generosity. In Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection we see the pattern of God’s abiding with us.

As stewards, this is the lens from which we interpret and live our lives. It is how we see our families, our neighbors, our civic communities, our congregations, and the world around us. All are worthy of this promise, and thus, all belong to and in God’s gracious, welcoming economy, God’s household.

What does this mean for us, especially as we begin to imagine recovering from the pandemic that has so disrupted everything? In so many ways, it feels like we will be emerging from hibernation. What might a steward notice? How might we assess where we are? Particularly in light of the themes of Holy Week?

First, we can have reassurance. Finding ourselves in the wilderness is part of the journey. That was certainly true for Jesus as he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane. It was true for his disciples when they abandoned him after his betrayal and arrest. It was true for the convicting mob, too. Hadn’t they lost sight of familiar emotional and moral landmarks in their whipped-up frenzy stoked by leaders who wanted Jesus out of the way? The wilderness, as uncharted as it is, is a place of great revelation and learning if we allow it to be.

Second, how do we identify orienting landmarks post pandemic? The landscape is new this time around. What did we learn—about ourselves, about others, and about the structures and systems we carry into this new reality? If we believe that all are welcome and all are worthy in God’s economy, in this moment of particular clarity, how are we doing in our work to co-create that reality?

How are you emerging, child of God? Take your wellness vitals. Hear this promise: You are welcome and worthy! What does your body need to be well? What does your spirit need? How are your finances? How are your relationships? What needs tending? What have you discovered about your resilience? Can you help yourself be better ready for the next time things get difficult? Can you adopt a shame-free point of view, choosing curiosity rather than judgement as a vantage point from which to see the you who is emerging? 

How are you, stewardship leader, emerging? How is your community of faith doing? What do they need to be well? How might you and your companions seek to improve the community’s resilience for the next time? Can you celebrate what you’ve learned, and honestly assess what needs to be tended to for the health and expansiveness of God’s welcome?

New life is emerging even in our grief. God’s promise of new life is at work even now. Easter is but a breath away.

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