Last week I was given the wonderful opportunity to be in Scottsdale, Arizona for vacation. I spent time hiking, lying by the pool, and otherwise relaxing with family; on top of all that, I had amazing bonding time with my mom. So, for those of you who noticed you didn't get a Wednesday Words blog last week, my apologies; but, I had different priorities and did what I needed to do!
Now I'm back. Suffice it to say my 're-entry' to daily living was not pleasant. It was so unpleasant, in fact, that it took until today for me to realize we are in the midst of Holy Week.
For readers who are unaware, Holy Week is a time in the Christian church when the last week of Jesus' life is observed and reflected upon as we lead up to Good Friday and Easter Sunday. I've always enjoyed the rhythm of Holy Week, so not being aware of it has thrown me for a loop; not being able to participate in Holy Week activities has added another layer to that challenge.
So, here we are, Wednesday of Holy Week. Jesus waking each day knowing he is one day closer to a horrific end on this earth. One day closer to betrayal and denial from those counted close. One day closer to giving of himself for me. For you. For all of creation and humanity.
Last Thursday, my mom and I hiked in the McDowell Mountain Sonoran Desert Preserve during which I took the picture you see above. (If you have the chance to experience the beauty of creation in the desert, I highly recommend doing so!) When I got back to the condo to look through the captured images, this is one that stopped me in my tracks. Between the colors, the varying terrain, and that sky (that sky!!), I experienced, both live and in reviewing the image, as breathtaking.
I've included it here because it is also, in my opinion, an image of Holy Week. And the whole of a life of faith, for that matter. Holy Week encompasses it all: pain, beauty, truth, betrayal, love, and denial; and it culminates in certain hope. When I look at this picture, I see all of those things, including hope as sun bursts through the clouds.
By now, I think you know how much I encourage reflective writing. So, I'm not going to elaborate any further on how I see Holy Week represented in this image. Instead, I'm going to challenge you to do so. Find a quiet place, sit with this image, and reflect on it. Pray on it. Invite God into the moment and listen for how God speaks. In the middle of this Holy Week as we round the corner to Thursday center yourself enough to feel the shift. Open the Gospels and walk with Jesus. Reflect and listen. Seek assured hope that can't be dampened, no matter the clouds.
When you're done reflecting, take a leap of courage and post your experience as comment on the blog. Let's keep this conversation going!
(And, Peter? Happy birthday!)